Future-proof your recruitment strategy with salary benchmarking

It can be tough recruiting in a market where there is only a small pool of qualified and available talent. Harder still, once you have a team of talented employees, to retain them in a competitive market place. Information and knowledge is key – and that’s where highly targeted and focused salary benchmarking can offer a real market edge.
Attracting and retaining highly skilled employees

According to the EEF’s recent Skills Report two thirds of manufacturing companies cited that they had difficulty recruiting key staff because of the lack of available candidates. Moreover, it highlights how companies often recruit in a ‘merry-go-round’, continually recruiting from within their own industry and poaching from within their own sector and supply chain.

Long term that’s not a healthy recruitment and retention strategy and one that is ultimately self-defeating. And it’s not limited to just the manufacturing industry – sectors across the UK are facing the challenges presented by a narrowing talent pool. The REC’s Jobs outlook survey in December shows that one in three organisations do not have spare workforce capacity and hiring in hospitality, public sector and construction will be under severe pressure.


Salary Benchmarking can help inform a competitive recruitment strategy.
Increased use of salary benchmarking is one of the key recommendations that the EEF has made to the UK Government and manufacturing sector to help tackle industry’s recruitment difficulties. Competitive salaries are important in attracting talent. But it also begs the questions – how much is competitive? Not only from within your own industry but also, outside it. Benchmarking against wider sectors gives you much richer data of where, and how you might identify and source, transferable skills.


What are the benefits of Salary Benchmarking?
Salary benchmarking gives you the opportunity to check that the packages you are offering to both new and existing staff are in line with organisations of comparable size and sector. Pay can be an indicator of both level of skill, and the shortage of the supply. Highly targeted and specific salary and reward date can offer rich insight when evaluated against your requirements, job profiles and organisational scale. Here are just some of the benefits:


  • Help improve staff retention rates. Variations in pay can sometimes equate to the difference between retaining or losing highly valued staff
  • Guard against loss of staff to competitors – both in initial attraction but also to help prevent poaching
  • Inform the development of recruitment strategies for future needs.
  • Proof to shareholders that staff provide value for money


Keep it Niche.

The best way to approach Benchmarking is to be very clear about why you are doing it, what data you want to collect and how you plan to use it. Generic market surveys have their place – but to collect specific information, you need to conduct research tailored to your requirements. Things you need to consider:

  • How am I going to use the data?
  • What geographical range will the survey look at?
  • Should I focus on direct competitors or consider wider employee marker competition?
  • Job titles/functions – check scope and the degree to which they are comparable
  • Organisation size and operating budgets
  • Gender/diversity split
  • Education
  • Degree of role satisfaction
  • Consider other sectors to draw talent from – where transferable skills can be utilised


The information is out there, but it’s difficult to access.
Some of the information is out in the public domain.  If you have the time and resource, it’s possible to pull together a salary overview. However, unless you are speaking to candidates and employers in your industry daily and collating the information as you do – this is likely to be a lengthy process. Moreover, often the more specific and insightful details can be challenging to find directly. Collecting the information needs to be handled discreetly and with sensitivity.


Douglas Stuart has long standing and in-depth access to professionals working in the energy, supply chain, logistics and HSEQ markets – both in the UK and internationally. Providing niche, highly targeted salary and role benchmarking is one of the cornerstones of our practice. Time and again, our clients have used our benchmarking services to identify and source hard to find talent.


Contact us to receive an example salary survey free of charge
If you would like to receive an example salary survey free of charge please let us know at: or call James on 0161 967 9670