For more than 70 years, experts in talent solutions at Robert Half have published their annual Salary Guides, not only taking a look at what workers are making, but what they want out of their work experience.

Those trends have been rapidly changing in the years since the COVID-19 pandemic forced many into work-from-home situations.

The hiring market remains challenging two-and-a-half years later, according to Christina Giglio, senior regional director for Robert Half in New Jersey, but not because there aren't enough available workers.

In fact, the research shows quite the opposite.

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"It is incredibly tight," Giglio said. "We're talking about, for skilled professionals with a college degree, an unemployment rate of 1.9%, which is beyond a 50-year historic low."

Nearly half (46%) of employers across the United States are now offering higher salaries, and 5 out of 6 (83%) are adding certain perks.

Still, those who are already employed and want to stay at their current place of business believe they have the upper hand, and Giglio said employers need to adjust for that.

"Employers should be prepared to talk pay," she said. "Workers really feel emboldened to ask for a raise right now."

But money, while of top importance, isn't everything; the Robert Half report said in 2022, salary can't make up for a poor employee experience.

"Truthfully, aside from fair pay, workers are really considering the full package. Benefits, remote work flexibility, growth opportunities," Giglio said.

So how can companies best retain the people they hire?

Giving workers autonomy over when and where they work (read: more work-from-home hours) is key, but so is offering professional development to keep employees on an upward trajectory.

And, Giglio said, make them aware of their value.

"Make it clear how employees feel their efforts are supported by their leadership, and what they're doing is really critical to the company's success," she said.

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