Candidates are taking back the job market, with two thirds (67%) of HR directors more willing to negotiate salaries to attract the top talent than they were 12 months ago, according to Robert Half UK.

The results of the recruitment company’s bi-annual survey of over 200 senior HR executives revealed that a fifth (21%) of recruiting HR directors think it’s appropriate for candidates to initiate negotiations of remuneration during the application process or first interview.

Phil Sheridan, UK Managing Director of Robert Half, said:

“The tables have turned in the job market and top performing candidates are now in a position to negotiate and command higher salaries.  As the market continues to improve we will witness an increasingly inflationary wage environment, where companies will need to pay higher salaries to attract and retain top talent.  Companies need to be aware that the best candidates are actively job seeking and receiving multiple offers, so working with a specialised recruiter can help manage salary expectations early in the process.”

The research also showed a predicted five percent pay increase for existing members of staff over the next 12 months, with HR executives explaining that employees demonstrating a willingness to learn (41%) would be the most likely to be rewarded with a higher salary.

The top five reasons respondents gave for offering a higher salary are:

  1. Willingness to learn and advance
  2. Time period since last pay rise
  3. Technical competency/measurable results
  4. Tenure/company loyalty
  5. Professional conduct/collaboration /teamwork