The obvious answer isn’t necessarily the honest one. We’d all like a filthy pile of lucre in return for our good services, but research from recruitment consultant Phee Farrer Jones across 1,000 candidates found that 45% moved to jobs offering either the same or less cash.
“My feeling is that the majority leave because they are not actively satisfied now, rather than because their perfect job has just come up,” says director, Neil Barnes.
When Media Week asked the industry, the response was similar (see chart on page 26). Salary came fourth from a list of 19, but sat behind how interesting the job was, feeling valued and desire for a new challenge.
Sally Davidson, head of recruitment at OMD UK, can see the logic here. “Obviously people come to work to earn a living, and salary is a significant part of the equation,” she says. “But how do you think a candidate would react when offered lots of money for a dead-end job on a desperately unadventurous client, with no prospects, an ogre of a boss, a grim working environment, no benefits, no investment in training, in a company going nowhere?”
Davidson’s point about dodgy managers and poor working environment is obviously key for a great many media professionals. After all, the careers feature that received the most lively response in Media Week was the one about working for a nightmare boss.
“All too often the problem comes that key people are promoted out of the jobs they’re good at and into management positions where the skills sets are widely divergent from their talents,” says one human resources director. “The problems come because the role is very different, the internal relationships change overnight and there often isn’t the preparation and training available to support inexperienced managers,” says one media HR manager.
That feeling valued came in with a bullet at number two in the Media Week job choice chart bears this out. While it would be easier for many cynical managers to kid themselves that they’ve been used and abused by even more cynical employees determined to claw their way to the top of the pile, the reality is often that they missed the chance to make those staff members feel like a valued member of the team.
Of course, part of feeling valued is seeing it reflected in your salary. But it can also be as simple as making the time to congratulate employees on a job well done. Or even to sweeten the blow of a negative comment with something more positive at the same time.
Strangely, for an industry that loves its little jollies, perks and benefits came thirteenth on the list. And of the most obvious perks, the chart looked like this (in an average rating of one to six):
Share options – 4.26
Performance related bonus – 4.2
Guaranteed bonus – 4.02
Company car – 3.77
Pension scheme – 2.85
Private health plan – 2.79
So, while the share options route has made many a dotcom casualty that bit more wary, there is still an obvious trend for media professionals to want to buy into the company they work for.
“There can obviously be problems if people don’t understand what share options really are,” says one senior new media director. He adds: “But the desire to ‘buy into’ the company can be extremely beneficial in terms of loyalty and the motivation to perform well. It’s a simple ‘ownership’ issue, and people who feel like they’re just employees will have a very different and less fulfiling dynamic.”