Salary increases alone will not retain top talent

Author: Susan Tam | Date: 2 Mar 2016

Survey shows professionals value work-life balance and want to feel engaged

A jump in salary might top the water cooler conversations, but is not necessarily the best way to retain talent.
A survey by recruiter Robert Walters has found remuneration is not the main motivator for many professionals; top talent needs to feel engaged and challenged.
“There is no point in increasing salaries if employees are still feeling unmotivated, and the statistics show it will only engage employees for another year,” said the survey, Using Career Progression To Recruit The Best Professionals.
It found that 87 per cent of professionals would leave an organisation if there was not enough career progression, and over 60 per cent actively looked for jobs that advertised career progression.
One recommendation offered in Robert Walters' research was for employers to accept that professionals would move on. “Take it as an opportunity to nurture some new talent who will make their own mark on the business,” it said.
While career progression is recommended to retain highly skilled professionals, it is proving to be a challenge in the shared services centres in Malaysia.
According to another recruiter, Hays, these centres require senior candidates with specialised process knowledge. But professionals cited a lack of career progression in the shared services field as making jobs in that sector unappealing.
“The shared service industry is increasingly turning to the commercial arena to obtain the core skills required,” says Tom Osborne, Hays regional director in Malaysia.
“By recruiting more highly skilled professionals. these centres can develop their technical processes and analytics functions,” he says.
On a broader note, in a 2014 report on talent retention, Kelly Services found that there were two main factors to keep employees in an organisation: allowing work-life balance options and investing in training.
Training is vital and should not be limited to employees, but must be extended to directors who lead teams in organisations. “Once people get to the very top of an organisation, it might seem that they’ve reached the end of their learning curve,” says Osborne. “But directors can benefit from specialised training to help them meet the unique demands of the boardroom and the heavy responsibilities they face.”
Robert Walters’ findings summed it up by stating: “Money is not the only fix. Employers need to set standards, launch development programmes and be consistent.”