How to become a leading organisation in your market

October 21, 2022

Whilst the UK is experiencing a record high for job volumes and a record low for active candidate numbers, it is more important than ever to stand out in a crowded market.

The latest figures from the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) show that there were 484,000 employers with 1.6 million employees still on furlough as of the 31st July 2021. This is a decrease of 340,000 from 30th June 2021, however, the number of employees on flexible furlough has been slowly increasing since February 2021, as some employees which were previously on full furlough may have moved to flexible furlough as restrictions have eased.

There were also 1,034,000 job vacancies posted in the UK from June to August 2021, which is 249,000 above its pre-pandemic level in January to March 2020. This meant that all industries increased their number of vacancies, with the majority reaching record levels. This combined with the restrictions around Brexit and most organisations restarting their hiring, the lack of available talent has therefore been felt across all sectors.

With the world of work evolving daily, staying ahead of your competitors and being a leading organisation in your market can be difficult, but we are here to help you understand more about the current landscape and what your business can be doing to ensure you have the most desirable opportunities.

Market rates/salary

The growth in average total pay (including bonuses) has risen by 8.3% and regular pay (excluding bonuses) among employees has risen by 6.8% for the three months May to July 2021.

It may come as no surprise to hear that many organisations find themselves in a bidding war for talent, sometimes paying above market rate to obtain the skillset they need. When presented with this dilemma, they can either choose to go above market rate or shift focus to consider what overall package they can offer candidates. In most cases, there is always a way in which you can offset a higher basic salary for a competitive package, which could include bonus incentives, great benefits or hybrid working opportunities.


Shifting the focus on to wellbeing and taking a holistic approach to employees and considering candidates as a ‘whole’, is what sets leading organisations apart. In turn, this is becoming a big consideration for candidates when comparing organisations and there is an expectation that the lines between work and home life will become increasingly blurred. Organisations are expected to offer employees support around mental health, financial and digital wellbeing as well as the usual gym membership and private healthcare.

Remote workers

Whilst the emphasis may have been on becoming a leading organisation in the ‘local’ market to your office, the new ‘hybrid’ way of working has meant that businesses can consider a wider pool of candidates if they are able to work either fully remotely or part of their time from home. This opens your talent pool to be UK wide and if you are a business what trades oversees, it could potentially open up opportunities to hire talent from even further afield.

If you can be more flexible about how and where your employees work then you in turn are able to attract a more diverse workforce which can bring a selection of different talents, skills, and experiences to your workforce.

Values and Culture

Creating a culture that your employees can promote has never been more important. Although this may seem as though it is a given, when people feel happy, engaged, and valued, they tend to talk about it. In a competitive market, candidates are actively asking for references on potential employers and will use a wide range of resources available to do this. Whether its quizzing industry connections or reading your google and glassdoor reviews, this will all form part of their research and will give them a perception of what it is like to work for you.

Your marketing department will need to work hard to ensure all online resources reflect your values and culture, whilst each employee will be responsible for encapsulating and embracing the culture.

We are here to help

All the above elements should form part of your ongoing people strategy and should be reviewed on an ongoing basis. With the recruitment climate proving increasingly difficult to navigate, we are here to support you throughout the process and can offer advice specific to the role types and sectors that you work within.

At Merrifield Consultants, we can help you understand what motivates each candidate, which will enable you to understand what is important to them in the current climate and enable you to offer them a market leading package. We can also offer the latest salary benchmarking advice and market insights which will help you form your strategy and define your hiring needs.

If you would like more specific advice on how to become a market leading organisation in your sector, then please contact a member of the team, who can offer impartial advice that may help you with your ongoing people strategy.

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