Organisations must prioritise culture over salary to win talent war

With the battle for top talent as hot as ever, organisations must prioritise workplace culture over salary if they want to attract and retain the best staff, new research has revealed.

According to the study by employee engagement platform Workbuzz, almost half (45 per cent) of UK employees and business leaders rank a “great” culture as the number one factor when looking for a new job. Specifically, individuals want a consciously created culture that provides a wonderful employee experience.

Financial remuneration ranked second in the list of priorities, cited by 31 per cent of the 300 respondents, comprising UK business leaders, HR professionals and employees alike. Interesting work was the third most important factor (cited by 28 per cent) when considering a role, according to the research.

Perhaps surprisingly, flexible working arrangements and prospects for career progression ranked fourth and fifth respectively.

According to Claire McCartney, resourcing adviser at the CIPD, the research highlights the fact that, in the current context, money is insufficient to both attract and retain talent.

"While the cost of living crisis is widespread and competitive salaries are important to all employees, many are also looking for supportive working cultures, opportunities for career growth, and flexibility in their work schedules," McCartney said.

She added that candidates are seeking meaningful employment that is "personally and culturally rewarding," not just positions with good compensation.

Interestingly, despite the study revealing how culture is the most important factor for individuals when considering a role, just 31 per cent of respondents said culture was a top HR priority at their organisation. In fact, culture is only the fourth highest HR priority behind improving employee engagement and experience (44 per cent); attracting talent (41 per cent); and retaining talent (35 per cent).

Bearing the findings of Workbuzz’s research in mind, is it time to consider what your organisation is doing to differentiate itself from the competition to attract and retain the best talent?

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A “great” culture is the number one factor individuals consider when looking for a new job. Photo by Canva Studio via

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