Is the salary surge sustainable?

Posted on 30 September 2021

Is the salary surge sustainable?  

It’s not time to take sides here, but it is worth tabling some thoughts for discussion to see what solutions we can all come up with. Your views count so we’re keen to hear your opinions.

Because right now, the market for senior digital talent is incredibly tight - unlike anything we’ve encountered before. Employers are in a constant battle for suitable talent. It’s brutal, tiring and they’re almost being forced into submission by candidate demands. The result is organisations forking out salaries 20% or more higher than what was the norm.

Are these salaries a band-aid solution to address immediate needs and worry about the cost later? Or are employers factoring these inflated salaries into long-term budgets, with calculated comfort they’re sustainable? 

This may provoke the situation where you have to increase existing staff salaries to mitigate the risk of a ‘one in, one out’ scenario - something more detrimental than the pure financial cost to a business.

There’s a distinct possibility that over the next 12 to 18 months some organisations will deem higher salaries are no longer sustainable due to a lack of return on investment. In another scenario, senior NZ-based talent end up working from their bedrooms for offshore companies who can confidently dangle a more inviting carrot.

Fighting hard for senior talent is certainly one recruitment method. However, in the current climate should businesses consider other options, like a two-for-one approach?

What about onboarding digital natives at an earlier stage of their career who are eager to inject enthusiasm and showcase their talent and fresh thinking? One inflated senior salary could cover two employees for a similar cost. Two new employees with complementary (not replicated) skill sets could work together and learn from each other. As they grow and progress it potentially becomes a great cost-effective method that also helps maximise staff retention.  

What do you think? We’re not suggesting there’s a silver bullet by any means. We just want to prompt some lateral thinking around this conundrum, and are genuinely interested in people’s views, ideas, and experiences here.  

So let’s hear your thoughts and comments as the battle for brilliant people wages on…




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