EY - How to secure top talent in the BRICs

How to secure top talent in the BRICs

Strategy 5: Tailor compensation and benefits to individual and cultural differences

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Our study found that the extent to which current employers offered desirable compensation and benefits packages was highly related to:

  • Continuance commitment: desire to remain with current employer
  • Normative commitment: feeling obligated to remain with current employer
  • Affective commitment: feeling emotionally attached to current employer
  • Job satisfaction and engagement

We went behind this statement for each country and profession to understand where the opportunities to differentiate really lay.

Career-management support, and benefits related to work-life balance are highly valued by critical talent, but are not currently well provided.

The growth potential of compensation is more important than the variable amounts on offer today or the competitiveness of the current base.

  • As a group, in-demand talent is most concerned about both current steady incomes and future earning potential.
  • Steady income is more valuable than variable or equity-based compensation.
  • Clarity about future career paths and the associated earnings matters more than a competitive base salary today.

Action point: Promote future career paths and earnings, rather than chase local increases in base pay and complex variable pay models.


The desirability of compensation practices is not uniform across the BRIC countries.

Some findings in particular stand out:

Brazil and India: Clear career paths, including future earning potential, would be an attractive offering in all countries, but especially in Brazil and India.

Russia: Secure and steady income in the present is particularly important in Russia where it was ranked first.

China: Stock options (or other forms of equity-based pay) and high future earnings had a higher rank in China than in other countries, suggesting a long-term orientation.

Action point: Tailor packages by country to achieve the greatest return.


Key low-cost non-cash benefits are not currently made available where they are most wanted.

EY chart showing the benefits employees want and the benefits employers offer in BRIC countries

Our study found that a number of non-cash benefits were being underutilized when engaging these groups. Career-management support, benefits such as flexible working arrangements, and other benefits related to work-life balance — which are highly valued — are not currently well provided.

Action point: Focus on building a benefits package that incorporates career development.


Different professions have different priorities when it comes to benefits and career management

We found that business and IT professionals have a higher preference than engineers for flexible work arrangements.

We also found that the business professionals were significantly more interested in quick promotions than IT professionals and engineers were — although promotions and salary increases were important to all groups.

Action point: Use a flexible approach to benefits and career management so that professionals can adjust them to their own preferences within a common framework.


Different professions look for different elements in an employer brand.

There was one significant difference between the professions: business professionals in emerging markets are more attracted than IT professionals and engineers to firms that they believe are industry leaders.

Action point: When recruiting business professionals and in order to retain in-demand talent, focus on your position as an industry leader.