On the morning he was contacted by MM&M to discuss the results of this year’s Career and Salary Survey, AbelsonTaylor EVP, director of business development Jay Carter had a conversation with a client CCO. As Carter recalls, the discussion ended with a question. He asked, “Do you know any good directors? It’s harder and harder to find good talent, and it seems as if somebody is always trying to steal the best people away.”

In Carter’s mind, such back-and-forth affirms the findings of the survey on two fronts: the increase in average salary and the rise, to 30.0%, in the percentage of respondents who plan to look for a new gig in the year ahead.

“The most interesting feature of this year’s survey is most of the growth in salaries came from the employees of agencies and other suppliers: 36.3% and 32.8%, respectively,” he says. “There wasn’t a difference in those two groups’ interest in making a job change, which suggests there’s going to be more change and salary increases in our future. That’s despite 72.6% of respondents saying their current employers’ work environment was ‘excellent’ or ‘good.’”

To contend with the competitive personnel landscape, Carter suggests three practices.

Pay people what they’re worth. “This is a two-edged sword for individuals thinking about moving elsewhere. I would suggest employers need to compensate their current staff at what their value to the organization is.

These are the people whose work we know best. It stands to reason we would be best able to assess their value.

It also means not caving on a salary demand just because you need to fill a role. I have had that situation fail me many times. You need to offer a candidate what you believe he or she is worth, and stand firm if they demand more.”

Tell people the truth. “One of the hardest lessons I learned as a new manager was to tell people early on when they weren’t doing well. Part of me just wants to be liked, and I found it easy to look the other way rather than hold people accountable.

Fortunately, I learned early on I wasn’t doing those employees a favor by overlooking their mistakes. They continued making them, knew there was an issue, and wondered why I wasn’t trying to intervene. It’s much better to let people know early, then work to improve their performance.”

Train everybody. “One of the oldest jokes in the business world goes like this: Two managers are talking about training their employees. The first asks, ‘Yeah, but what if we train them and they leave?’ The second responds, ‘What if we don’t train them and they stay?’ We all rely on the quality of our co-workers. If they aren’t getting better, how can we?”

AbelsonTaylor is the sponsor of the 2018 MM&M Career and Salary Survey.