Beyond the Paycheck: What Does Top Talent Really Want?


The global demand for employees in our cutthroat technology industry is notoriously high. The global IT industry was valued at $3.6 trillion in 2013, according to CompTIA, and 68% of IT firms report having a “challenging” time hiring new talent. When employers want the best, they simply have to think of talent like a competition.

The real technical and creative geniuses are gunning to be the next Steve Jobs of the big players (your Apples, Googles, Facebooks, etc.), or they want to start something of their own. Call these the top 10%.

Of the remaining 90%, who do you want to work for you? Of course, you’d like something along the lines of the remaining top 10 to 20%. These are the same people your competitors are after too. How do you differentiate yourself to persuade candidates to work for you?

The first thought is to offer higher salaries and better employee benefits. This sounds pretty sensible. The best candidates can get the best packages, the employer gets the best candidates – great! However, it’s a sticking plaster solution, i.e. not sustainable. Throwing money at the situation doesn’t solve it for the long-term. Instead, put these larger initiatives on your radar if you want the world’s best talent to really stick.

Give Them Company-Wide Innovation

Google allegedly pays interns nearly $6000 per month, but do they only work there because they’re well-paid? It’s more to do with the company they are a part of building. Google is one of the richest companies in the world, but perhaps they’re richer in tech innovation; 2014 brought us Google Glass and self-driving cars on the road (albeit still in testing).

While we can’t all be Google, the point here is that seeing the bigger picture is absolutely vital when it comes to attracting people to your business, looking beyond surface-level pull factors and quick fixes. What can you offer? The “cool” that only innovation brings.


Give Them an Amazing Environment

If you create an environment where people enjoy their work, you’ll have built the foundations of a place where employees will want to come to you, and stay there. Flexible work hours are first and foremost, according to Adecco. But it can also mean ditching glaring fluorescent bulbs for low lighting to boost productivity, like Belle Beth Cooper of Exist suggests. Plus, messy desks and creative spaces can allow room for creativity when it strikes.

Give Them a Great Team

Getting the balance right between attitude and aptitude is key, and “softer” characteristics or skills can be harder to gauge in some people. It's important that new people blend with your existing team. Not that it’s all about fitting in; the right people can challenge others positively and bring their colleagues up to the next level. Ultimately you want to bring the best out of your people old and new.

Give Them Exciting Work

LinkedIn’s Talent Trends 2014 report states that ahead of better compensation and benefits, actively job-seeking candidates value greater opportunities for advancement as the most important factor when seeking a new job. That doesn’t just mean a corporate ladder and positive cash flow. It means work that builds to a crescendo, work that intrigues, excites, and means a greater future for the employee—and the company too.

Topics: Benefits

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