Three-minute explainer on… salary springboarding

There is a growing trend of employees taking pay rises and progression into their own hands. Businesses should beware of both losing top talent and being exploited

Tme Springboard

The cost-of-living crisis shows little sign of letting up, so how much people are paid really matters. Someone’s salary not only has a direct impact on the quality of life they are able to afford outside of work, but, as with their job title, plays a key role in shaping their perception of their own value within a company. 

Of course, pay rises are a touchy subject right now. The macroeconomic challenges affecting employees are affecting their employers, too

What is salary springboarding? 

According to a study by HR technology company, Employment Hero, nearly a fifth of new hires in white-collar industries in the UK, such as finance or public relations, are being affected by a phenomenon known as ‘salary springboarding’. 

This is where someone joins a company with the aim of gaining a higher wage and, usually, a more senior-sounding job title, only to leave that same company before their probation has finished. In doing so, the person can then move to another firm, potentially without being locked into a long notice period. Often they can do this for even more money, and having held a more senior position, albeit for just a few weeks or months.

Salary springboarding, Employment Hero found, disproportionately affects small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), because they often cannot match the higher salaries and benefits packages offered by larger firms.

Could salary springboarding hurt your business? 

Salary springboarding represents a headache for multiple stakeholders. Consider, to begin with, a business losing an employee because they want to earn more money. The risk is no longer having access to a skilled member of your workforce, while also having to spend time and money to replace them.

Second, there’s the company which the employee intends to springboard from. This firm not only suffers from the same challenge of funding and running another recruitment process, just a few months after hiring someone, but also has to navigate the HR challenge of managing an uncommitted or distracted employee.

Third, there’s the company which this employee eventually ends up at. What guarantee is there that they will stay put and be satisfied there? Are large firms necessarily immune to losing staff in this way? 

Finally, there is the headache for the springboarding employee. What message does moving around so often send to managers? 

The most straightforward way for a business to avoid losing its top talent is to invest in its people, not just in the pay rises it can afford, but in training and development opportunities, so that staff feel they are progressing at work. The best way for a company to avoid being used as a springboard, meanwhile, is to factor long-term strategy into every hiring process. Every interview question should be couched in long-termist language.