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Headhunting: Pay not only factor in job change

My previous two articles dealt with the question of why international firms pay higher salaries than domestic companies. The reasons were many but did not give an answer to the other question of how to prevent people from leaving your company.
Let's first look at the reasons why people leave their present job for another employer. You might think that a higher salary is the main motivation but surprisingly this is not the case. It is obvious that a person changing from one job to another is unlikely to accept a lower salary and will probably negotiate (and get) a higher salary. But it is not the initial reason
for change.


Gerard Koolen

My previous two articles dealt with the question of why international firms pay higher salaries than domestic companies. The reasons were many but did not give an answer to the other question of how to prevent people from leaving your company.

Let's first look at the reasons why people leave their present job for another employer. You might think that a higher salary is the main motivation but surprisingly this is not the case. It is obvious that a person changing from one job to another is unlikely to accept a lower salary and will probably negotiate (and get) a higher salary. But it is not the initial reason for change.

As a recruiter we ask all our applicants why they would like to find a new job and the answers below are listed according to the frequency of the response, number one being the reason most often given:

1. I want to develop my skills and at my present job I am not able to,
2. I need new challenges, my present job has become routine,
3. I do not have promotion opportunities at my present company,
4. I want to have a higher salary,
5. Our company is not developing itself anymore,
6. Problems with my manager and/or colleagues,
7. I want to work closer to home,
8. Numerous other reasons,

When we look at the people themselves behind answer number four, we discover that the majority are people working at state companies, public institutions, low civil/governmental jobs, production operators etc. All have one thing in common: lower than average salaries. For these members of the workforce it is obvious they are changing just for a higher salary. But even for these people present salary is not the decisive factor. The major factor is the lack of any future prospect of salary growth.

If we look at salary levels of 12,000 crowns (just above Slovakia's average wage) and up, many other reasons start to play an important role, the major factor for change being when your employees do not see any future at your company. People will leave your company the moment they have the feeling that there is no future.

In most cases people leave because of a lack of perspective. But this does not mean that the salary issue can be neglected. Every day talented people leave their present employers and take substantially higher salaries elsewhere.

Gerard Koolen is a partner at Lugera & Maklér. His column appears monthly. Send comments or questions to gerard.koolen@lugera.com.

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