How to Navigate Elevated Salary Expectations

4 minutes

The demand for tech talent and lack of supply have driven up candidates’ salary expect...

The demand for tech talent and lack of supply have driven up candidates’ salary expectations. Some organisations cannot offer competitive salaries, but candidate expectations remain elevated. 

Tech salaries skyrocketed after COVID-19, rising globally in all roles (except product management) in 2022. The Dice Tech Salary Trends Report 2022 shows a 2.3% increase since 2021, and a 6.9% increase the previous year. The Workday® ecosystem has not been exempt from this phenomenon. 

So, how do you navigate your way through these choppy waters as a Hiring or HR Manager? Have no fear, there are plenty of techniques to apply if you can’t match the salary rates of your peers and competitors. Let’s take you through our how-to guide on navigating elevated salary expectations…

1. Get to know the market

Knowing what your competitors offer for similar positions and skills is crucial. Your prospective or current employee may enter salary negotiations armed with multiple job offers, so you don't want to be caught off guard. Consider location and total compensation packages when assessing your competition's offerings.  

Researching independently is not enough; it is essential to have a comprehensive view of the bigger picture.  

And this brings us onto our next tip…

2. Build a relationship with a recruitment consultancy 

The best person to get market insight on remuneration within the Workday® ecosystem is a Workday® Recruitment Specialist. They are fully immersed in the Workday® recruitment space, across both partners and customers, so they’ll have the most up-to-date information, and will be able to give you a more holistic view of the market. 

Not only will they be able to advise you on how to present your salary offerings, they’ll also be advising candidates and helping to manage negotiations (something they are very experienced in), so they can help keep the process amicable and streamlined. This will serve you very well when looking to attract the best talent. The sooner you can start building a relationship, and the Recruitment Specialist can start to get to know your organisation, and your team, the better. 

Focus on WD were the world’s first recruitment consultancy to focus solely on Workday®. If you need help managing elevated salary expectations, our Workday® Recruitment Specialists are best placed to help you.  

3. Take a look at your budget 

Make sure your budget matches the skills you need for your team.  

Are you going for quantity over quality? Sometimes, hiring fewer people but making sure those you do hire have the Workday® skills you need is a much better option. If you go for a higher quality candidate, and put a little more money towards this, they will likely be much more successful in that role, and you’ll have fewer issues with retention across the entire team. You’re then less likely to spend a lot of money onboarding candidates that aren’t capable of what you need them to do, only to replace them further down the line. 

There are always skills gaps in the Workday® recruitment space, usually in integrations, but there are also gaps that pop up as new features and modules are introduced. If you need talent that has experience in a module where you know there is a skills gap, you’ll need to consider that your budget should account for this early on in the hiring process. Talk to your Workday® Recruitment Specialist if you need advice on where the current skills gaps are, and how much you need to be offering candidates with in-demand skills.

4. Get Creative 

If you’ve taken a look at your budget, and you still can’t stretch to the salary expectations your candidates are expecting, or you can’t focus on quality over quantity, this is when you need to get creative. There are plenty of solutions you can employ to bring the focus away from the financials… 

Training and certifications 

Are you looking for certified candidates only? This is very common within the partner ecosystem, but is this absolutely necessary? Some of our clients here at Focus on WD have opted to invest in non-certified candidates, and then supported their certifications once they’ve started. This has proved to be a very good solution, and has allowed them to onboard these employees on lower salaries to begin with, but has garnered loyalty and employee satisfaction in the long run. In fact, there is quite a movement towards this way of thinking; in our review of the Workday® talent market 2022/2023, you can read more about how certifications have dropped down the list of priorities for hiring managers. 

Workday® Pro, the accreditation programme for Workday® customers, has proven to be incredibly popular in the ecosystem. If you are able to offer this to candidates, it’s an important card for you to hold, as it’s often worth more to them than an extra few thousand pounds, dollars, euros etc. a year.  


While you may be able to get candidates to accept an offer of a lower salary with the promise of training and/or certifications during the hiring process, you will need to account for this further down the line. As long as your long-term budget allows for it, you may be able to attract better talent on a lower starting salary, as long as you can pledge to offer salary increases, and good career progression, throughout their tenure with you. 

Career progression is very important to candidates in the Workday® ecosystem, as the survey respondents in our 2022/2023 review showed. A large number of professionals whose tenure was less than 3 years had not experienced career progression in their current organisation, and a significant number of these professionals were considering a career move in the near future. So, if you can offer a development plan, and stick to it, you’ve got a better chance of your dream candidate accepting a lower salary offer. 

Perks and benefits 

As well as pledges for training and development, you can consider the whole package you are offering a candidate in lieu of a salary that’s higher than your budget for that role. Think about the perks and benefits your organisation has already invested in (or can invest in) that are of worth to candidates. This includes bonuses, insurance, pension schemes, wellbeing programmes, memberships and discounts, stock options and equity, social calendars – the list goes on.  

It is easy to work out just how much these perks and benefits can be worth to somebody over the course of a year, and it is something that Recruitment Specialists will often go through with candidates, to ensure they understand the worth of the whole package they’re being offered, not just the base salary. 

Immediate gratification 

Another thing you can try instead of meeting salary expectations outside of what you’re able, is to offer immediate gratification to candidates, for example a signing-on bonus, a home office allowance to use prior to their start date, company phones and laptops, relocation assistance etc. 

These may increase your immediate costs, but will reduce the long-term cost of your new hire. 

Candidate/Employee experience 

Another way to appease candidates who are looking for salaries higher than you can offer is to ensure the hiring process is easy, smooth and seamless for them.  

Make sure you can book in interviews, give feedback and move onto further interview/offer stages quickly. This does often hold a lot of weight with candidates, as it shows that, as an organisation, you are efficient, empathetic, and invested in the hiring process.  

Once somebody has accepted an offer, it’s important to continue this in the onboarding process and general employee experience, as this will aid your retention rates. 


Flexibility is possibly the most important card to play in the salary negotiation game. It’s very much at the forefront of most candidates’ minds, and if you can offer more flexibility instead of a higher base salary, this is often a great compromise. 

If you get the candidate to consider the money they’ll save by commuting less, and the value of a better work/life balance, this does often mean more to them than some extra pennies every month. 

Company culture and values 

People with the right attitude can’t be bought and sold. If you know the culture and values of your company match a candidate’s incredibly well, use this! Any Recruitment Specialist will tell you that if there’s a true match between the values of a candidate and an organisation, it’s the most tried and true recipe for success. 

If you can pick a candidate that really rings true with what you believe in as a company, you are more likely to strike a chord with them, and this gives you more wiggle room with the salary you offer compared to the salary they expect.

It will take a combination of these solutions, and perhaps all of them, to account for the difference between the salary you offer a candidate, and the salary they expect. However, if you can create a really valuable package with the non-financial aspects mentioned above, you’ll be much more likely to bag the talent you need. 

Recruitment specialists will often advise candidates to accept a base salary of 5-10k less than their original request if the package ticks all, or most of, their boxes. 

So, if you’re being hit with elevated salary expectations, do not despair, you still have the cards to play to attract the right talent for your team. 

Get in touch with Focus on WD if you’d like to start your consultation on overcoming salary challenges. We don’t just work with you, we PARTNER with you every step of the way, to make sure your hiring processes are optimised, and that you can attract and retain the best talent. The better we know you, the more aligned you’ll become with the candidates involved in your hiring process.

Want to know how we’ve helped our candidates and clients manage salary expectations? Here are some recent examples: 

Workday® candidate in the UK  

A candidate in the UK was looking for their next step in their Workday® career. They had an offer on the table from one of our clients, but this was for 5k less than the candidate expected for their base salary. They also had higher offers from different organisations. 

Knowing this client well, and the culture and values of their organisation, and having worked closely with this candidate, our Workday® Recruitment Specialists knew this was a match made in heaven. 

After working through everything that was on the table for this candidate, and discussing all of the boxes this role would tick for them – the size of the programme, the opportunity to grow their skillset, the organisation’s investment in Workday® Financials, the career progression they would experience – they agreed that accepting a lower base salary, but gaining the level of opportunity this client were offering, plus being aligned with their values, was a great move. 

They are still happily placed in this role at the time of writing. 

Workday® candidate in the US 

A candidate in the US was looking for a role with a specific salary in mind. They had offers on the table that were 5k above their ideal salary, however, we supported them in their selection process, and they accepted an offer from one of our clients that was 8k less than the other offers. 

They received a 3k sign-on bonus, and the opportunity to develop their Workday® career that the other companies were not offering. They also really liked the company culture at our client’s organisation.  

They are still happily placed in this role at the time of writing, and are experiencing the career development they expected.  

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