People & Culture Market Update

Let’s begin by dispelling any belief that we have a crystal ball! Although there are many out there making predictions, let’s keep it simple and share some insights from what we know.


Seeing how the HR world has bounced around somewhat over the last little while, it’s prudent to consider some 'whys' along with what we see and hear.  


What we know is that recruitment is in high demand – be it internal or external. Through the majority of last year, nearly every third phone call was about recruiters and talent acquisition losing their jobs. Now less than six months on there is a fight for that talent. We’re all aware that this was a reaction to the unknowns of Covid, however now we hear many reflecting on those ‘scaling-down’ decisions. People are, after all, our best asset, and yet the ‘people-people’ had their worth disregarded all too quickly. Easy to say now, but let’s hold on to that learning.

‘activity breeds activity’

On the flipside, having managed several people and culture executive roles over the past few months, it’s been very telling where there are talent fluctuations. At a CPO level it’s overwhelming to see volumes of good talent. I recognise this is not so great if you are part of that active talent pool but from the client side you are fairly likely to hit the mark when you do have specific requirements. From the talent perspective we know ‘activity breeds activity’ – it’s not a cliché for nothing! There are a number of high-level roles about and this will naturally start a wave of opportunities coming to market. 


At mid-level HR management ($140-$170K) the story similarly reflects that of talent and recruitment.  There is movement and there are definitely candidates out there, however some who are on the move are also those who don’t stick anywhere for long. There is a quality shortage across this level. Within bigger business there is also a greater demand at this level.  Good people are being held on to and being remunerated accordingly…


Which leads me to $$. There is this crazy fallacy and frequent discussion regarding salaries reducing. Salaries have not changed – what has changed is almost the opposite – not only in the HR world but in many segments of the market. This is simply because skilled and talented people are being well looked after, so to keep them they are being paid well - and counter-offering is raising the bar. The question is, will it ever drop back? If I can provide one word of advice, look after your good people before they start looking further afield. It’s too late when they resign – in fact for many, that can be deemed insulting.

…and back to the solid contingent of senior people on the market, many are prepared to drop their salary expectations. This does not mean that the value of the role has gone down but instead, those people who are not driven by $$ are now available.


Employers – don’t think that people more senior than your role won’t stay. It’s another misconception and one we are seeing too often so amazing talent is being missed out on. Stop being cautious and seize them while you can. Just because a person is prepared to take less money, it does not mean that you don’t get loyalty and tenure. Many great people have volunteered to take time out or take a step back – they’re available and that’s a great thing! If Covid taught people anything, it was to take life a bit less seriously!

To discuss your next career move or potential new hire in all things People, Culture & Capability, get in touch with Sandy Gibbs here at Tribe at 


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