When Paying More for Candidates Makes Sense

Compensation is a subject everyone is interested in. So it’s no surprise that it’s a big part of the discussions we have with our stakeholders when it comes to recruiting product, design, marketing, and sales talent across North America.

  • What do people earn today?
  • How do our salary bands align with the persona we want to hire?
  • What will we actually need to pay?

Having just finished a three-year tech "boom" that saw salaries hit new highs and creep into the "sick money" category, everyone is now wondering what 2023 will look like.

Here are three compensation insights for 2023:

Employers are "Sick About Money”

Many employers are sick of trying to attract candidates whose expectations are unrealistic or incomparable to their current state of revenue and funding. Employers want to feel a candidate’s excitement about their business and the work they could be doing, not feel like they are just chasing a paycheck.  

While social media lit up to highlight the rescinded offer trend that unfolded in late 2022, what only made a small blip on social was the trend of candidates backing out of offers they had accepted because they continued to interview, even after accepting and signing an employment contract.

With mass layoffs dominating the news, employers are viewing this as a time when salary and compensation expectations will be rebalanced, and they will be able to attract employees who are more interested in the company and mission at hand rather than trying to land “sick money.” 

Candidates are "Sick About Money"

Many candidates working for "big tech" companies – whose compensation has been heavily weighted on stock price earnings – have had an awakening to a market everyone knew would come one day.

In particular, we hear unemployed big tech workers in smaller global markets are concerned with fewer employment options, as some companies decline to hire remote staff with the return of 'in-office' work. 

Broadly speaking, the market has flipped back to an employer's market. This is expected to shake up how candidates approach their job searches as they learn how to fight for the few jobs in higher salary bands.

Use Cases for Paying More

While the market has flipped to an employer's market, this doesn’t mean all talent is readily available. In all of our practice areas, there are use cases for clients paying more than the average for the talent they need. 

Even in an employer’s market, there are still some titles/specialties where clients will have to shell out “sick money”:

  1. High-performance sales leaders: B2B software sales professionals with sales target achievements.
  2. UX talent: we're talking about product design talent who has delivered a frictionless user journey that leads to an outcome that drives growth at scale and care enough to present it in a beautiful case study.
  3. Nuanced Product Managers: In a world where everyone is or wants to be in product, specific product skills are in demand and at a premium. For some firms, it’s talent focused on the discovery phase. For others, the integration layer or leveraging AI to drive automation or predictability.
  4. Growth marketing: Strategic hackers who can figure out how to get and convert leads across all channels and all parts of the funnel.

Compensation is a complex topic for any employer or candidate to navigate. Context around market conditions, candidate experience, funding, revenue, location, the magnitude of the problem that needs solving, size of market opportunity, and currency of compensation are just a few of the factors that contribute to a compensation plan and what someone could earn and how flexible an employer needs to be.

If you’re looking for real and current compensation, check out our Salary Insights series or book a call with one of our practice leads to learn more about the current market value of potential candidates.