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The Not-Moving-for-Money Myth

  |  June 20, 2012   |  Comments

A $6,000 annual pay raise may not seem like a big deal to an employer – but it is for a prospective employee.

Ask any recruiter and they will tell you that people don't move for money. To a certain degree, this is true. But money talks. And if the salary isn't right, you will face an uphill struggle to hire. Sure, other factors often influence someone's decision to change jobs such as people being promoted above them, lack of training, or just a downright dislike for their boss. But in today's economy, applicants can't help but think about the bottom line and whether or not they can afford to pay their rent or mortgage.

Within the digital market sector, the issue of staff retention is a hot topic. While there's always movement, demand far outstrips supply and companies increasingly find it difficult to replace the people they lose. A major area of staff turnover has been toward the junior and mid-level career mark where we are noticing a large volume of vacancies.

But let's be honest, not every company is managing to fill their open roles. It's not because they happen to be bad firms with awful reputations in the market, although that doesn't help in some cases. No, it's because applicants are increasingly looking at the basic salary on offer rather than the actual opportunity. At the junior end of the career ladder the difference between £30,000 ($47,000) and £33,000 ($52,000) may not seem much to an employer, but to the actual applicants it makes all the difference.

I have seen quite a few more offers fall through or be rejected this year due to a competitor offering more money. Not always a huge amount more but enough for that person to be swayed, no matter what their original reason for changing jobs was.

We keep a close track on reasons why people leave their jobs within the digital marketing sector. And we have seen a clear winner recently. They are looking for higher pay. So there it is, the myth of "not moving for money" is exposed. It never used to be the number one reason, but as the economy worldwide has taken hit after hit, people want the stability of good pay to ensure they can cover their bills or save a little in case they lose their job.

Now it could very well be that the reason for this change in motivation is purely down to the recent recession. During economic boom times other factors such as career development, training, and the actual projects worked on generally came up as top reasons for a career move.

For those companies that recognize this fact and adjust their salaries toward the top end of the market, the talent deficit is proving to not be such a problem. Sadly, many firms within digital and especially within the agency sector are being slow to recognize this fact.

Due to this, organizations are increasingly becoming targets for both head hunters and internal recruitment teams as poaching grounds for new talent. As they lose staff that they just cannot replace because of total salary blindness, they will soon find that they may not be able to deliver against their clients' campaigns and as such lose even more staff at an increased rate.

As a head hunter, we keep detailed lists of what companies pay and the benefits on offer. If we don't think we can recruit for you, we will view you as a source for those clients we believe stand the best chance of attracting people. It's another myth to believe recruiters want everyone's business. We don't.


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Jake Langwith

Jake Langwith is managing director and founder at International Head Hunters Stone Carter where he specializes within SEO, web analytics, and social media. With over 17 years experience across the U.K., Europe, and Asia Pacific markets he has established a strong global reputation and works in close partnership with some of the world's leading digital agencies and brands.

Jake is actively involved in the digital marketing community. He's also an avid blogger and a speaker at SEO-related industry events such as the SES conference series. He takes a keen interest in his market sector and outside of recruitment runs several websites where he puts into practice SEO and marketing strategies. Jake is particularly interested in SEO and conversion strategy within e-commerce.

A self-confessed search and tech geek, Jake is married with two children and lives in London where he was born and bred.

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