Bringing up the topic of salary during the recruitment process can be a very delicate subject, both for the prospective employer and candidate.

As the country continues to emerge from the pandemic many employers in the Pensions industry are actively recruiting for existing and newly created vacancies, whilst candidates are increasingly confident about making a career move with potentially more than one offer on the table including a counter-offer.

What do you do when you have found a candidate that you want to hire, and they are asking for a higher salary than anticipated?

We know that pay and benefits are not the only reasons pensions professionals love their jobs. The satisfaction of improving pensions provision, delivering high quality service to a scheme’s membership are typically cited by candidates as a key priority when changing jobs. However a large number of respondents to our 2021 Salary Survey continued to cite disconnect between salary expectations:

“Motivation for changing role“:

Salary, New Challenge, closely followed by Career Progression reflected the past few years’ salary stagnation/lack of market movement.


“How engaged are you compared to 12 months ago?”

27.6% 2021 more engaged, a sharp decline from 41% 2020; 26.5% 2021 less engaged, an increase from 18% 2020; 46% neutral compared to 41% 20202.


“Main issues encountered when recruiting”

Shortage of suitably experienced candidates presented is the key issue reported every year. 2021: candidate salary expectations, counter offers, and speed of internal recruitment process also featured most highly.

It is important to bring up the topic of salary expectations early in the recruitment process, as this will save valuable time, ensuring both candidate and employer expectations are aligned. The more transparent you can be with your recruitment consultancy about the realistic salary range available, the better they can manage both yours and the candidate’s expectations accordingly. They won’t necessarily share exact figures with prospective candidates but will be able to use this intelligence to manage the process far more effectively.

Do your research

Before you start the recruitment process, ensure you have current market data on pay levels for this type of position. Is your range competitive? What can you offer to a prospective candidate that is competitive with other employers’ job opportunities? What career opportunities, training and development do you offer? How are your pay reviews structured (financial calendar year/performance-related?). Do prospective candidates understand how they will be recognised and rewarded accordingly? Flexibility around work/home-based? Wider benefits package (financial/non-financial benefits)?

Your recruitment consultancy should be able to provide up to date benchmarking to assist.

What is the value of the job

If you expect high performance and talent from your team, you need to pay them accordingly. The cost of recruiting to replace dissatisfied employees can be high not just in terms of time, fees and training of new recruits, but also in terms of potential impact on the existing team, department and company.


Open and honest communications throughout the process will reflect strongly on your organisation, and what it will be like to work for.

Salary Negotiations

What happens when you have found someone you really want to hire but they are asking for more? Ensure you understand the reasons that they have. Are these justified and if so are they worth the investment?

The talent war continues in the Pensions industry, recruitment processes need to be nimble, future hires nurtured, counter offers managed. The working knowledge and experience sought continues to evolve, candidates need to continually up-skill, keeping abreast of the industry, and equally pay expectations need to reflect this talent and hard work.

Sammons Pensions Recruitment 2021 Salary Survey now published

Please contact 020 7293 7022 or email for further information or specific benchmarking.

Back to News & Blog
Contact us