19 Dec 2017

The Whole Package

It's that time of year when I start to run through my stats to collate the Annual PMP Salary Survey.  I always plan to use the week before the Christmas break because it'll be quiet - right?!  But it never is and it's pretty much an end of January weekend that I manage to hit the save button.  Anyway.  I've had a few roles get to offer stage this month (ha!  I am good at what I do) but some of the offers and decisions have been challenging and I thought it would be useful to raise a few points.

When I start a conversation with a candidate about a new opportunity, one of the first questions is traditionally, 'what's the salary' - historically I'd say this is the most important factor in determining if someone is interested in a role.   Then we look at location, clients, creative output, fit etc.  In the agency world, whilst lots of the global networks do have 'packages', there is still some catching up to be done with regards 'benefits' within the smaller independents.  Not all of them - but most.   In the old days, if someone was moving from a global network to an independent, we'd try to ensure that the basic salary was higher to account for a lack of pension provision/healthcare etc and we'd approach things from that angle.  Recently though, I've noticed that candidates are seeking 'pension' increasingly frequently and often choosing to stay within the relative security of an agency that offers decent additional benefits rather than moving (even if a slightly raised bonus allowed them to organise a personal pension or healthcare).  I understand this and I get it.  I think increasingly that independent employers are getting it too.  A recent example where the candidate chose a role with a long list of 'benefits' instead of an agency where it was the statutory pension deal, said that of the benefits, it was the 6% contributory pension that made the difference.  We're all aware of hopefully living for longer and we're equally aware that living longer isn't going to be much fun if we're all skint.

Interestingly, also 'in the old days', it was considered a benefit to have a nice company car but then money savvy candidates realised that actually on a tax basis it wasn't such a benefit and they'd take an allowance if it was on offer instead.  Now it's pretty rare that cars or car allowances are on the agenda at all - candidates are far more concerned with planning for the future with their benefits and that's where pensions, healthcare and life assurance play a big part in their choice of new employer.  Whilst lots of employers will include on their list of provisions, free tea and coffee and big fruit bowl and a personal favourite, a mobile phone and laptop (ha, to do your job!) - these are 'nice to haves' - and everybody does it anyway!

So in a roundabout and rambling way. This blog was meant to be about asking yourself as an employee what the most important criteria are for you?  If it is a 6% contributory pension, you need to find out at the outset if the employer provides it.  It's not likely to be something they can just organise for you at the last minute so if it's a deal breaker, it's better to know that at the start. 

And it is the difference, largely, between the big and small agencies. So you need to weigh up what are the other pros and cons.  In a smaller agency, you may secure a slightly higher basic, you'll have less rules and regulations, you'll potentially progress quicker, you'll potentially be exposed to more challenges etc.  In the larger agencies (ok lots of generalisations here), you'll have support, bigger teams,  potentially bigger budgets and clients - but you'll be a smaller cog in a bigger wheel.    Overlay all of that with the 'benefits', location, typical projects & campaigns etc - and you'll be closer to finding out where your boundaries are and what is of interest and what isn't.

Looking at my stats, it seems that this year the top five employee preferred benefits are:

Contributory Pension
Free Gym Membership
Free Parking
Ability to buy extra days holiday

Flexible hours which is also a popular one is also up there in the top 10 but apples and bananas are nowhere to be seen!

Merry Christmas!