Expert reveals why Aussies should not expect a big salary bump by switching jobs

Employees should not expect a big salary bump if they switch jobs next year, according to an expert on workplace trends.

Nicole Gorton, the director at specialised recruiter Robert Half, said even as cost-of-living pressures climbed, people would not get above-market-rate offers unless they had niche and in-demand skills to negotiate higher salaries in 2024.

Ms Gorton said offering higher salaries was a strategy employers used to attract the best talent when there was a severe skills shortage but that was changing, with the Australian job market recalibrating after a few years of rampant hiring.

“As the economic landscape transitions into a state of moderation in 2024, the dynamic surge in salaries will stabilise,” she said.

“Employers will need to demonstrate the compelling factors that differentiate their job offerings, while employees should carefully articulate their unique contributions and align their expectations with what’s happening in the job market.”

A study, involving a survey of 300 hiring managers across Australia in November 2022 and June this year, found companies were prioritising skills over traditional qualifications when hiring staff.

Results showed 74 per cent of employers were not too concerned if a candidate did not have the required certifications, recognising that possessing specific skills was often more indicative of a person’s ability to contribute.

The study also indicated many employers would mandate more days in the office in 2024.

This year, 87 per cent of Australian employers surveyed implemented mandatory office days.

But Ms Gorton noted mandated days meant some staff would look for new opportunities.

Thirty-one per cent of employers surveyed said they had lost at least one employee due to mandates, while 40 per cent anticipated resignations in 2024.

“While the benefits of bringing people back are evident, careful consideration needs to be taken when making changes to a policy that is of utmost importance to many professionals, especially if a business’s work-life harmony benefits are what got candidates through the door in the first place,” Ms Gorton said.

The study further found that some businesses would look at reintroducing retirees or engaging with international talent to fill skills shortages.

Ms Gorton noted 47 per cent of employers who had hired retirees indicated they would do it again.

Another 37 per cent indicated that although they had not yet brought on a retiree, they would consider it in the future.

“A great candidate – regardless of their work history – should have the technical expertise to perform core job functions efficiently and effectively and the ability to situate their skills within the wider organisational context, using power skills such as problem-solving or stakeholder management,” Ms Gorton said.

“Employers are looking beyond traditional groups of people for their roles and are relying on word of mouth or networking to final specialised talent.”

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