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Key trends for employers in 2022

  • Publish Date: Posted about 2 years ago
  • Author:by Julie Smith, Empresaria Regional CEO, UK & Europe

​A number of Empresaria’s UK brands (LMA Recruitment, Become Recruitment and Ball & Hoolahan) recently surveyed candidates to discover more about how their salaries have changed over 2021, and what the key motivators to work are that they are seeking to gain in 2022. With the severity of the talent shortage that we are currently facing in the UK causing issues for many industries, employers must take steps to remain ahead of their competition by successfully attracting and retaining top talent, including offering competitive compensation packages. In order to do so, employers must first understand the changes that 2021 brought and what those changes mean for their business, as well as gaining valuable insight to the market and what 2022’s top candidates are looking for.

Have salaries changed over 2021?

In short, yes. 67% of respondents stated that their salaries had increased, 27% reported that their salaries had stayed the same throughout 2021, and a small portion (6%) saw a decrease in their salary. This data is a good indication that the pay freezes and cuts we saw in 2020 are well and truly over and that the majority of employees have either seen a promotion or have been acknowledged by their employers for their efforts.

It should be noted that respondents who saw a decrease in their salary commented on their choice to change career path, or to significantly reduce working hours following the Covid-19 pandemic, indicating work-life balance as a key contributor to their decision.

How much have salaries typically changed by?

With the majority of responses reporting an increase in salary, we set out to find out just how much salaries had changed during 2021. Almost half (48%) saw less than a 10% change in their salary, a further 22% received more than a 10% increase and 18% more than a 20% increase.

What is motivating candidates in today’s market?

2021 saw the emergence of the biggest candidate shortage since 1997 according to the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC), meaning candidates currently have the upper hand in negotiating an employment deal. However, 2021 also brought to light many other aspects of a job offer that candidates take into consideration. Traditionally, companies could secure top talent by offering slightly higher salaries than their competitors, however this approach may now be outdated.

Salary was still voted as the biggest motivator to work by our survey respondents, with 18% placing it in their top 3 choices. Another unsurprising motivator was career paths and promotion opportunities, with 10% voting it as one of their top 3. We are however seeing changes in candidate priorities; flexible working is now the second highest voted by respondents, with 11% citing it as a top 3 motivator and working from home also received 9% of votes.

What cannot be overlooked by businessesand Hiring Managers is that these motivators are overtaking what are considered more traditional perks and benefits of a job, such as bonuses. Businesses should consider how external factors shape what candidates are looking for and what makes them consider changing jobs in the first place. Making the mistake of disregarding these opinions could lose you the candidate you’re seeking in today’s market.

My hope is that this information will provide valuable insights to our clients. If you are looking to grow your workforce in 2022,our expert teams are always on hand to help. To learn more about how we can help you find and secure top talent, don't hesitate to contact us. Or to receive a copy of our 2022 Salary Guide, please contact

As for my personal expectations for 2022, I can hardly wait to see what the year will bring and what successes we will have in the upcoming year.

Julie Smith – Regional CEO, UK & Europe