Half of UK employers are boosting compensation and recognition to retain talent, survey finds

HR teams are also focusing recruitment efforts on neurodiverse candidates in a bid to plug skills gaps

Credit: Nikom Khotjan/Getty Images

More than half (58 per cent) of UK employers are increasing compensation, while 45 per cent have implemented employee recognition programmes to boost talent retention, a survey has revealed. 

The findings come despite a recent report by OC Tanner, which found that almost half (47 per cent) of UK employees feel the praise they receive at work is meaningless and feels like an empty gesture. 

However, furthering their bid to retain talent, the global survey of 2,000 hiring managers and jobseekers – 500 of whom are from the UK – by HireVue, also found that two fifths (41 per cent) of employers have set budgets aside for L&D allowances. 

Masterclass: How to make recruitment neurodiversity friendly

Pay still struggles to match inflation, data reveals, but L&D key to attracting talent

One in five workers feel they receive less recognition working from home, poll finds

Edward Obi, director at HR Hub Plus, said investing in L&D initiatives can help organisations “retain current employees, attract new talent, enhance skills and improve performance”. 

“By providing opportunities for professional development and career growth, companies can create a culture of continuous learning that benefits both employees and the organisation,” said Obi. 

While recognition and pay rises were “important”, they are not mutually exclusive, and a “combination of both” can improve employee motivation and engagement, he added.

Get more HR and employment law news like this delivered straight to your inbox every day – sign up to People Management’s PM Daily newsletter

The survey also asked 3,831 HR professionals across the UK, US and Australia to ascertain how they had addressed economic uncertainty, talent shortages and EDI, and found 61 per cent were now focused on hiring neurodiverse candidates. 

Two fifths (40 per cent) of HR professionals said a lack of qualified applicants was the “biggest barrier” to finding top talent, and, as a result, respondents were targeting “historically overlooked” candidates. 

These included:

  • Internal candidates (44 per cent)

  • Diverse employees (45 per cent)

  • Mature-aged workers (41 per cent) 

  • Interns and undergrad workers (32 per cent) 

  • Neurodiverse candidates (61 per cent) 

Neuro-inclusivity coaching specialist Victoria Tretis said workplaces should strive to become equitable and welcoming with training and awareness, especially for hiring managers. “Think about recruitment in terms of culture add rather than culture fit, to create workplaces with diversity of thought. The best teams are like a jigsaw puzzle – not a puzzle that needs to be solved, but of complementary thinking and talents,” said Tretis. 

Job descriptions should have inclusive language, which is acronym free and in plain English, she added, noting that phrases like ‘great communicator – both verbal and written’ could mean someone with dyslexia with all the right skills in other areas does not apply because they do not feel confident in their written skills.

Sarah Loates, co-owner of Loates HR Consultancy, said this was evidence of the “great retention”, which required a diverse approach and increased understanding from line managers on employee motivation. “[Motivation] is a very individual thing; for some developing personally, achievement and recognition are high on their list of requirements. For others, ultimately, recognition does not pay the mortgage,” said Loates, who added that it was a “balancing act” that employers should “take time to understand and navigate”.

But the survey also found that technology was playing a bigger role in recruitment, as potential candidates were not entirely satisfied with the current processes. A quarter (24 per cent) of jobseekers reported being ‘turned off’ by a bad interview, and 61 per cent had rejected job offers because of poor communication during the hiring process. 

Meanwhile, two fifths (40 per cent) of employers are adding technology to their interview process. Of this group, most (70 per cent) had introduced virtual interviewing and standardised assessments (58 per cent), followed by automation (46 per cent), chatbots or text (40 per cent), AI (38 per cent) and game-based assessments (32 per cent).