Employers are losing out to the strongest candidates due to uncompetitive rewards in the capital, new research from recruiting experts Hays has revealed.

In a survey of over 6,800 employees and employers in London, over half (55%) of employers were found to be missing out on candidates in the past 12 months because their benefits and salary package was not competitive enough.

Salaries are still proving a key driver in employee choice of jobs with 90 percent considering it the most important element of a remuneration package when looking for a new role. Salaries are already on the rise, and out of those surveyed, 56 percent had received a salary increase in the past 12 months.

Pressures to offer higher salaries will increase and organisations will be forced to come up with innovative ways to compete for staff. Over two-thirds of employers (68%) have already encountered new hires receiving a better offer from their current organisation.

The focus on cash raises questions to whether cash or culture should be the priority for employers if they are to recruit people who may be attracted by other factors of the employment proposition.

Ian Clark, director at Hays Financial Markets, says:

“It is no longer enough to expect employees to stay with an organisation based solely on financial reward. With high levels of remuneration becoming the norm, organisations must adapt to new ways to compete for talent. Aspects such as organisational culture, flexible working and flexible benefits packages are becoming more appealing to candidates choosing between jobs at similar pay levels.

Counter offers by current employers are also becoming more prevalent, with over two thirds (68%) of employers reporting counter offers made for at least some candidates. Employers now need to make a compelling case for an employee to take a new job that does not rely on salary alone, and that will stand up to a competitive offer.”

Almost two-thirds (65%) of employees say that taking some or all benefits as cash can be an incentive when considering a new role. Despite this only 32 percent of employers currently offer this option. Flexible working is also highly valued among employees, with 34 percent saying it was important to them when considering a role and 22 percent say they are attracted by the option to work flexible hours.