What Candidates Want From Their Next Employer in 2021
24th Aug 2021
We often think about the things companies look for in candidates, but in the current candidate-driven market, it’s become more important than ever to know exactly what candidates are looking for in a company.
The last year has forever changed the way employees view and approach work, but the one thing which continues to hold true - businesses that want to attract and retain the talent they need to move forward, must understand the top priorities of their future workforce.
They must embrace new, flexible work models and encourage a workforce that can construct their careers. Employees want to decide when and where they work, to be measured on the value they deliver and expect to be trusted to perform. Companies that understand and embrace these wants and needs will attract the right people and more importantly, hire the right people.
Top features candidates want in 2021
The COVID-19 pandemic has created global economic uncertainty. Now more than ever, candidates are prioritising job security and stability from their employer of choice. They need to know how the pandemic has impacted your industry, and what actions are being implemented to ensure your company comes out on top at the end of all of this.
A huge 73% of job-seekers reported that their main anxiety throughout the pandemic concerned their career, rather than their health. Alarmingly, just 35% are worried about catching the virus – not even registering in their top five concerns. This indicates that employees value the security of their job above anything else. Unsurprisingly, roles offering longer-term stability will be the most highly valued by top candidates.
Flexibility and work-life balance
Whilst initially creating a degree of angst and scepticism, working from home has proven that people can work just as effectively as before, with many employees will continue to expect it well after the pandemic is over.
However, as the lines between work and home continue to blur, today’s candidates are increasingly evaluating a company’s culture when looking at new positions — they want to see that work-life balance is a genuine priority to prospective employers and they want to understand how remote employees are supported.
Candidates are seeking jobs that will give them a work-life balance that accommodates their lifestyles, having become a much bigger factor in how happy employees are than they used to be. This may be because employers are finding new ways to entice their employees with extra perks that will make their work-life balance more effective and enjoyable for them, for example, 4-day working weeks and half-day Fridays.
Workers are asking for more flexibility in where and how they do their job. 80% of workers say they would turn down a job that didn’t offer flexible working. The good news is, remote work is a boon for retention rates (improving them by 10%) and engagement.
Remote work is on the increase around the world, with 16% of global companies now fully remote and 52% of employees working from home at least one day a week. With more companies focusing on the environmental impact of their operations, it makes sense that remote work and flexibility will become the new normal for working life.
Growth and development opportunities
Even before the pandemic, one of the primary reasons for employees to move on from their current employment was due to the lack of growth and opportunities for development. Research by The Harris Poll found that one in three employees (34%) quit their last position because they “didn’t learn new skills or better their performance.”
After a tumultuous 18 months, growth and development are more important than ever as candidates are more likely to associate these qualities with stability. Demonstrating to candidates that your company is invested in their development will enable them to see a potential future at your organisation, and provide a sense of future job security.
For your business to excel, you need to be attracting the best talent, and that talent is ultimately the candidates who are always looking for further opportunities to grow in their careers. If you can provide opportunities for your employees to grow within your company, then you have a chance of hiring and retaining the best talent.
Enabling your employees to develop their careers, will effectively be rewarding to the company as an entity, as retaining employees will bring higher levels of productivity and largely improve the company’s overall reputation as being an employer of choice. LinkedIn research shows 93% of employees would stay at a company longer if it invested in their careers. And offering career training and development would keep 86% of millennials from leaving their current position.
If candidates know there are chances for their career to develop within your company, they are less likely to seek out other opportunities and much more likely to stay with your company.
Meaningful and challenging work
Top talent will often leave a company when they feel as though they are no longer being challenged enough from their role. When employees feel undervalued at work, this can refer to the volume of work, but also the type of work they are doing.
Employees want to do work that challenges them or is consequential, or at the very least to expand their skills. When that work no longer stimulates them, they will seek out new opportunities which do. A recent study discovered that 9 out of 10 professionals confirmed they would forego up to 23% of their future earnings for work that is always meaningful.
Although employees get paid to come to work every day, they work hard and when that hard work is accomplished it should be rewarded or acknowledged.
Having processes to recognise and reward employee successes can benefit your business in several ways, including hugely supporting your recruiting activity. Potential employees can see that your organisation is one where they know their work will be rewarded, alongside helping you to retain existing employees and also your brand identity. If employees know they will be rewarded for their efforts, or even just have their hard work recognised, they will likely be more productive and effective within their roles as they know it benefits the company and that it is appreciated. This sort of encouragement is likely to attract new and better prospects as well as ensuring the ones who are there want to stay there for as long as possible.
Employees become disheartened and disengaged if they feel they are working hard but that it is not being valued. A recent survey found that 96% of employees say it is somewhat important or very important to feel appreciated at work, yet only 37% indicated they were satisfied with the level of gratitude expressed to them at work.
Almost half of job seekers have cited attractive benefits and perks such as gym memberships and PTO as a top factor when applying to new roles. Other significant factors included high salaries (46%), work-life balance (43%), and the flexibility to work from home (41%).
Ultimately, candidates are no longer solely attracted to a high salary, but rather, they are actively seeking a comprehensive total compensation package.
Offering job perks to potential employees, may not only be the competitive advantage over candidates’ other offers but also validates your company as one that values its employees and reinforces a positive company culture.
Compensation packages do not always have to signify monetary deals. Many of the top benefits and perks which win candidates over are easily implemented, such as gym memberships, flexible/ remote work options, employee discounts, etc which can mean securing those top talents.
Employees thrive in environments where management trust them and they possess sufficient autonomy to do their jobs. When employees are micromanaged, they may begin to feel anxious and become unable to work as effectively.
Throughout the pandemic, this has particularly been the case with many employees working from home, whereby employees crave to be trusted to complete their job effectively.
As the war to retain talent escalates, the focus on valuing exiting employees has become more important than ever. Along with a universal recognition that resilient employees are the foundation of any company, came an understanding that a company’s workforce is essential to business survival & growth. This has prompted organisations to completely rethink how they attract, retain, and manage their talent.
There are undoubtedly vast shortages of candidates, particularly within niche roles and industries, thus fuelling the candidate market. For employers, there is a great necessity to manage candidate expectations or risk losing out on great talent. Organisations’ need to embrace the idea that efficient, seamless, and speedy hiring is critical in today’s competitive market.
Check out Corvus Assured to find out how we could help your recruitment process.