77 per cent of HR professionals considering changing employers are driven by a desire for increased compensation and benefits, a recent LinkedIn Workforce Confidence Index shows. Nearly two-thirds (62%) of HR job seekers, meanwhile, said they want opportunities that speak to their interests and values.

Stress is a factor too: Almost half of HR respondents in legal (45%) and in support, accounting and healthcare services (44%) reported wanting less stress at work. That’s higher than the 36% of all U.S. respondents reporting stress reduction as key for their next job.

The recent LinkedIn Workforce Confidence Index calls HR pros “the job hunters who ask for everything.” Susan Lee, a people operations manager at Left/Right in New York City, said she thinks that’s valid — and maybe reasonable, too. HR professionals wear many hats, so the duties and definitions of these roles can be challenging to differentiate, according to Lee. Sometimes in a single role, HR pros are handling benefits, legal work and companywide DEI training plans, Lee said.

Industry pros are weighing their options
Agreeing with the LinkedIn findings, Lee said that within her Slack network of industry pros, “the hot topics are finding new roles and getting higher compensation.” She said there’s even a job board within that Slack workspace, and frequently people are “comparing what we’ve been paid, how much experience we have, if we should be asking for more in our interviews.” With this kind of knowledge, could HR pros hold an unfair advantage over other candidates? Lee said she didn’t know about that, “but it’s definitely, definitely a privilege to see it from behind the scenes” and then apply that knowledge “to our own career growth.”

For her, it was a combination of different business models, maturity and company size, as well as job duties, that made important differences in her salary. Lee saw a $40,000 salary increase when she left an office manager role at a very small design consultancy firm for a workplace experience manager position in a healthcare technology company. It wasn’t just tech startup money that accounted for the big jump, Lee said, but the breadth of the role. She was tasked with building out “basically all their programs and processes, including onboarding, from scratch.” With that, Lee gained even more salary negotiating power “that leverages experience of building things from the ground up.”

Reviews tied to recruiting
For HR practitioners involved in recruiting, it’s typical that performance reviews consider speed and rate of success in converting job seekers to applicants, and candidates to hires, Lee said. But more recently, candidate experience has factored into recruiter pay as well, she said. Lee confirmed this to be true based on conversations with recruiters and talent acquisition pros. She noted the dilemma among HR pros who, faced with the challenge to consistently win others to the company, may be dissatisfied with their own workplace experience. For talent professionals hoping for less stress at work, this could be a contributing factor.

But as much they may feel pressured by the work, Lee said they “may have an edge on everyone else” in job seeking because of the fluidity of HR work. The experience of the HR pro is “very malleable,” she said, so it’s “definitely easy to market yourself, especially as someone who’s always building relationships and teaching other people how to navigate a new space. Those skills are so transferable in any sector.” Still, she said, “I mean, I would be lying if I didn’t say that every recruiter that I’m talking to now is burnt out.”

Use new tools for a new marketplace
Josh Bersin, president and founder of Bersin & Associates professionals, explained this collective exhaustion. The industry is trying to use old tools in a very new marketplace. More than half the companies his firm surveyed for a new report don’t understand “they’re still working the old model where … some manager just writes up a job description, and just throws it [at] HR and says, ‘find me one of these people.’” The answer, Bersin said, is to look again at the job, and make sure it’s “designed correctly so you can attract more people.”

Bersin, who’s studied HR for more than 22 years and is a long-time advisor to the HR industry, said this could mean more work flowing through HR because “hiring managers don’t always know how to do this, or they haven’t thought about it.” But HR has thought about it, and industry pros can make these assessments, he said. Virtually every company we talked to is deathly afraid of their turnover, their retention, their engagement and their ability to hire, and, you know, as I did the research, and I looked at it, it’s just going to get worse,” he said. “We’re trying to promote this idea that rethinking what the work is, is the way to grow out of this weird talent market.”

The LinkedIn report reflects responses from 37,216 LinkedIn members gathered Dec. 4 through March 11.



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