Competition for Top Talent Intensifies

As the economy shows signs of recovery, in the UK and abroad, so does the employment market, especially in sectors in which there is a shortage of talented top professionals. Candidates with desirable skills and expertise know that they now have the edge; they can enter an interview from a position of strength, with higher demands and expectations.

In this post-recessionary world the competition for top talent has become fierce. Candidates are not the only ones being assessed; potential employers also have to sell their business brand and offer competitive remuneration and structured career development opportunities if they are to attract the top talent. The most in-demand professionals have the ability to choose where they work, based on who offers them the most attractive deal. And although financial reward is a high priority it is not the only consideration for many professionals; personal progression, a rounded benefits package and flexible working may all be factors.

Businesses aiming to stay ahead of their competitors face the dual problem of recruiting skilled specialists and retaining the employees they already have. It is no secret that the right individuals add considerable value to any business; delivering on business outcomes across the board, such as meeting or exceeding customer expectations, creating new products and services faster than competitors and meeting or exceeding financial targets.

There is a shortage of skilled personnel in a number of industries, from scientists in hi-tech pharmaceutical research and development to specialists in financial services, who have the regulatory expertise and an understanding of the operational changes taking place in the industry. The highly competitive global talent market is driven by these shortages and with demand for professional expertise exceeding supply higher expectations are inevitable. However, businesses can take steps to ensure they recruit the best.

Foremost the financial rewards and overall employment package have to be competitive; a candidate may have a number of options, and may go elsewhere if the offer is not favourable. It is important that the package on offer meets the candidate’s expectations, not just on salary level and bonus scheme but also the additional benefits, such as an attractive pension and generous annual leave entitlement.

To pitch the package at the correct level an insight into a candidate’s motivation is crucial. There has to be an expectation that candidates will be career-focussed and eager to progress. By demonstrating clear pathways to promotion, opportunities to develop through training and mentoring and the additional rewards that come with seniority and greater responsibility a business will be in a better position to attract the most ambitious individuals.

In addition to generous remuneration some candidates may value a role that allows them flexible working hours, especially if they have family commitments. It would be unfortunate to lose a talented professional with in-demand skills and expertise to the competition due to inflexible and out-of-date working practices. A study by the Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals (CIPP) found that 85% of workers rate flexible employee benefits as being either ‘very important’ or ‘important’. This suggests that allowing employees to customise their rewards package to suit their particular requirements can act as an additional incentive to candidates.

Alongside these considerations the business itself has to be attractive. The creation of a strong business brand should not solely be for the benefit of the customer; employees also want to feel connected. Social media has played a key role in this development as employees, present and former, use sites such as LinkedIn to rate their working experiences. Having a strong business brand can be communicated formerly and informally, through marketing, as well as at the interview. If the business does not appear professional or capable of meeting the candidate’s expectations they will not accept an offered position. A business will only recruit and retain the top talent by offering a better working environment than its competitors, designed to keep high performing individuals motivated and committed.

A business may increase its chances of success by working with a specialist executive search consultancy as such an organisation is often in a unique position to find and attract the most suitable professionals. Through relationships, often developed over time, a search consultancy can select the best candidates for a specific position based on an in-depth knowledge of the business and the candidate. Working with both parties they can, not only assist in the often lengthy recruitment process, but also manage expectations ensuring both sides are happy with the outcome.


Recruiting top talent with relevant skills and expertise to help drive forward a business is not a straightforward process; but it’s vital for ultimate business success. Employing specialists in executive search and recruitment will ensure the best result for all concerned and makes good business sense.



"Resonate conducted a search for BFFF after their own extensive efforts had failed to find a credible shortlist. They delivered a quality shortlist with 3 appointable candidates being found. Throughout the process Resonate kept us well informed and consulted effectively at every stage. I would have no hesitation in recommending their services or using them again".

Brian Young, Chief Executive - British Frozen Foods Federation

"Alison Cannon handled the process with professionalism and the utmost discretion throughout…presented a fantastic shortlist that provided real choice…challenged our thinking by demonstrating a real understanding of our business needs".

Debbie Robinson - Managing Director, Spar UK

"I have worked with Therese for many years now and can categorically say that Therese is in the top three of Senior Search and Recruitment professionals I have ever had the pleasure of dealing with".

Bob King - Compliance & Operational Excellence Director – Hovis Ltd

"We have used Martin on many occasions for our most senior appointments. He is well connected, really understands our business and manages relationships well".

Julian Bell - HR Director at Muller Wiseman Dairies

"I have worked with Alison and Therese and known them for several years. Recently I worked with them on my current role. They stand out amongst head-hunters for their warmth, engagement, VALUES and understanding of the process".

Jason Kelly - Supply Chain Director - Chingford Fruit Ltd

"Therese worked with me to achieve a successful placement in a senior operations role within the food industry. Her first rate knowledge of the industry and her capability to quickly align my career aspirations with the needs of her client were instrumental in this process".

Steve Wood - Operations Director – Tulip Ltd

"I found Martin extremely expert at working out exactly what we wanted and also having the strength in depth of aligning our needs with the right individuals".

John Sharkey - Chief Executive Officer - SEC Ltd