It’s like the real estate market… except the roles have flipped and recruiters are the real buyers now. Staffers are constantly being outbid with better cash offers by the next agency, or commercial company, and usually with contingencies like retention bonuses. Through an online poll, ClearanceJobs found that with 1,200 respondents, only 10% of recruiters were able to offer a bonus for employees who stayed on to a certain point. It’s tough to compete in today’s market when you don’t have the money, and money talks!

As we continue the war for talent in the defense industry, employers have been adding more extras for their recruiters to be able to attract and retain cleared employees.

Top Benefits to Offer

Here are a few you should think about to remain competitive:

1. Wellness Incentives & Support

There are low-cost items like water bottles or yoga mats, or you could splurge for your employees like offering, gym memberships, after 6 months with the company. Some no-cost incentives like taking paid office breaks for exercising or meditating can offer easy ways to show you care. Progress incentives require participation, like step counter challenges where the winning team is awarded a gift certificate. Employers can utilize online social to engage the workforce by providing resources that promote wellness, while tracking health progress (there are many apps that run wellness campaigns).

2. Remote Work / Flexible Hours

I’m expecting to receive some hate mail on this one… and I get it. Security clearance jobs mostly require employees to work onsite due to the nature of the job. But all I’m saying is be creative! Tout your company’s career mobility, offering that candidates can potentially be promoted to an overhead role that offers more flexible work or telework time. Allow some contract employees to do some of their less classified work at home or from the office during flexible hours.

3. Retirement

Retirement benefits have become an important factor to attracting and retaining the workforce, and employees wishes for better retirement packages have soared to its highest level in the last ten years. Candidates that are willing to pay for substantial benefits has returned after a decline during COVID-19. Willis Towers Watson, a leading global advisory, surveyed 9,600+ employees and found that 60% of employees cited their retirement benefits as a big reason they would stay with their current employer, in comparison to 41% in 2010.

4. PTO

A simple way to stay competitive with benefits is to increase your PTO offering. Unlimited PTO policies have become commonplace at tech companies and are even being widely used by traditional companies in stricter industries throughout. It’s because unlimited in fact doesn’t mean limitless (it’s a marketing tool, and still has certain parameters), and underuse is often a bigger problem among employees than overuse.

Has your time off policy been evaluated since your company came to be? Time to shake things up so you can attract more candidates.

5. Reimbursements

Whether it’s cell phone stipends or education reimbursements, these benefits are a safe(ish) option since not every employee will opt in. Or at least opt in at the same time. You can fix caps to reimbursements and ensure the education piece is in line with employees career fields, and ultimately invest in your workforce to better the work they are dong for your company – retaining them in the process.



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Katie Keller is a marketing fanatic that enjoys anything digital, communications, promotions & events. She has 8+ years in the DoD supporting multiple contractors with recruitment strategy, staffing augmentation, marketing, & communications. Favorite type of beer: IPA. Fave hike: the Grouse Grind, Vancouver, BC. Fave social platform: ClearanceJobs! 🇺🇸