How to keep Poachers at bay in a skill shortage!

Holding on to and attracting good quality staff in a busy market is key to keeping up with the growing demands of a growing company. As you grow, so do your staff requirements and those new staff members have to come from somewhere…

Being a recruiter that focuses solely on the Surveying industry, I have seen first-hand how the demand for skills and experience has now outstripped supply. Due to this my work can sometimes involve bringing talent to those I recruit for, by taking it away from those that I don’t. Having discussed this recently with a number of clients, I have seen how some companies are coping with this issue. Some are holding on to their existing staff whilst also attracting new staff, whilst others are losing staff and struggling to recruit new talent.


In the last week alone I have seen two great examples of how to be a winner in this situation. Not only have the companies in question made their existing staff happier, they have also increased the chances of securing the new staff they need to grow.

The pre-emptive strike

The first company that sparked the idea for this blog is an established and fast growing Multi-disciplinary consultancy with offices across the South. They are currently growing their team of Building Surveyors right across the company and their approach was to take a pre-emptive strike.

They took a good look at how their staff were treated and correctly noted that they already have a great offering for their staff. They saw that there was two main reasons why staff would leave to seek employment elsewhere;

  1. Reasons beyond their control – I.e. Relocation or a change in personal circumstances
  2. Money!

This is where the pre-emptive strike came in. They were paying the industry standard and staff were comfortable with that so when they decided to introduce a 10-15% salary increase across the board, their staff were over the moon! Not only did it make their staff’s lives easier from a financial standpoint, it also made their staff feel loved and valued.

They have simultaneously reduced the risk of staff being poached for financial reasons, increased staff productivity by boosting morale and given themselves an offering and a story that makes them a much more interesting proposition for future recruits.

Genuine progression

The second company to inspire this blog is a small but growing multi-disciplinary consultancy based in London. Lots of companies start out small but in a competitive recruitment market how do they compete with large consultancies with deeper pockets? This companies approach was progression.

The Directors of the company looked at what had led to their success and growth and it came down to them working hard whilst having genuine opportunities for progression. They quickly realised that for their company to progress they also had to offer progression to their staff. With both existing and future staff in mind they have increased the level of assistance given to those looking to qualify and become chartered, whilst also creating a path for progression that leads right up to equity partnership. Not many companies go this far when offering more to their staff but for this company it has really made the difference. Existing staff have the future in their sights and are highly motivated to reach the next level and incoming staff are offered a progression route that other companies just don’t offer.


I only came across one company last week which sits in this camp. Having discussed their offering I can see them really struggling to attract new staff members whilst also losing existing staff to their more forward-thinking competitors.

What are they doing differently?

  1. They offer progression but it is based on time rather than individual merit and achievement – This is not going to attract the type of staff that moves a company forward.
  2. They do not offer earning incentives to anyone below Director level – Not only does this foster a ‘them and us’ feel, it also means that they have a considerably less attractive offering when compared to their direct competitors.
  3. They have a “lucky to work for us” mentality – This came across to me in a 20 minute conversation so I am sure that within an hour long interview it is not going to inspire people to leave their current place of work and move across.

In my humble opinion their approach is both old fashioned and not forward thinking, especially when put next to their competitors whom are offering considerably more in every way.

NEXT STEPS – Creating a Winning company culture

I know that there are holes in both of my “winning” examples but what I think both companies are doing is recognising the value of their staff and showing it. A well-motivated and highly valued workforce is much less likely to have their eye turned by another company and future staff are certainly going to a culture of valuing staff very attractive. On top of this, you are also likely to have a highly motivated workforce who are more productive to boot!

If you are interested in viewing the opportunities offered by the great clients that have featured in my “Winners” section, please get in touch or take a look at our latest jobs.

Please also comment and let me know your thoughts. It is a sprawling topic and I appreciate that I have only explored a few examples here.

About me:

I am the founding Director of HD Surveyors Ltd, specialising in bespoke job searches for Quantity Surveyors and Building Surveyors across London and the South East. Feel free to get in touch if you are considering a move in the future. I would love to help.