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The Inside Scoop - insights from leading digital head-hunter Daisy Hughes, Hanson Search

Daisy Hughes, Senior Consultant for Corporate Communications and Digital Marketing at Hanson Search, shares her insights on techniques to attract and retain digital talent, the opportunities for digital specialists and how companies can benefit from working with a specialist recruiter. 

As the war on talent continues, what techniques have you seen businesses use to attract and retain digital talent?

The most apparent one has to be salary. Overall, there have been salary increases across the board in order to retain talent. This in turn has resulted in salaries being disjointed and out of sync with each other. Employees who were retained by their current employers may have been offered significant salary increases to stay, whilst others offered remarkable increases to get them on board.

Another obvious technique would be internal promotions and/or fast tracking. People love to progress in their careers and employers that offer this faster than usual can attract someone to stay where they are and continue to climb the ladder of success.

Thirdly – benefits packages are improving, as well as remote working options. To retain talent, a lot of businesses are offering exciting new packages to top their competitors, whether that be generous bonuses, cash to cover the increase in living costs, free breakfasts/lunches in the office and/or cycle to work schemes. Since Covid, hybrid models are also taking centre stage and can be the difference to someone taking the job or sticking where they are.

What one piece of advice would you give to hirers looking for digital specialists?  

I think it is very important for those hiring to be open and not too specific with what they are looking for. Whether this is regarding salary brackets or specific skillsets; in the current market they are likely to miss out on strong digital talent without looking slightly outside of the original requirements box. This can also relate to being more flexible to varied hybrid working options and other candidate requests.

How are digital roles now evolving and what opportunities are you seeing for digital specialists?

Digital is literally everywhere and is evolving every second. Digital specialists are therefore becoming more and more valuable and their skillsets unique. With the huge growth in digital comes more jobs and increased salaries as the demand for them increases.

Additionally, like previous times, digital is not just purely techy/nerdy stuff like we originally thought  – there is so much more variety across different sectors and can be of interest to anyone and everyone with different interests/experience.

Reverting to my hybrid working point, with digital evolving, this also opens the opportunity of working from anywhere and flexible working models have become so much more prominent in day to day lives. Where we used to have to be five days in an office in London, we can now work just as easily from a sunbed in the Bahamas!

How can companies benefit from working with a digital specialist recruiter for their talent hiring process? 

Most obviously is market knowledge. Working with someone who knows, lives and breathes the digital market and has a strong digital network behind them is going to be vital when it comes to getting ahead of the competition and getting the right talent for your business. This is also the case when finding the specific skillset for each role – the term ‘digital’ is pretty vague and incorporates a vast amount under its umbrella. A digital specialist recruiter can delve into all of this and find the perfect talent for each company.

As I mentioned, post Covid, salaries, job titles and levels are all out of sync with each other. A digital specialist recruiter will also be able to help you navigate these complexities and advise accordingly.

Where do you recommend candidates look for opportunities in light of a potential economic downturn – inhouse v agency?

I don’t tend to recommend one over the other. Both have their pros and cons and it is totally down to the individual as to which route best fits their career path. I know a lot of consultancy candidates who assume the grass is greener on the client side and can soon realise it is not the ‘land of milk and honey’ they thought it to be!

There is also a need to stop assuming that all agencies are the same. Consultancies come in all shapes and sizes and my best advice to my candidates is that it’s not a one size fits all approach. One might be totally wrong for you and another the perfect fit. I recommend candidates to be open minded and absorb advice from recruitment professionals when looking for new opportunities in light of a potential economic downturn.

I’d also recommend candidates (as I do clients) to think outside the box – digital is everywhere these days and the type of roles that fit under my digital umbrella are growing, in both the skills required and industry experience needed. Really look and see what is out there!

Posted on 16.11.2022

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