What job seekers truly care about

Some have said that the “Great Rehire” is akin to throwing a pack of cards in the air. Eventually, you can put the deck back together, but not everyone will end up in the same spot.


In this job market, we’re in the “putting-the-deck-back-together” stage. I attended a webinar recently that I’m hoping has some insight to help you stack the deck in your favor (so to speak).


The webinar was led by Eric Gregg, CEO & Founder of ClearlyRated and Dave Kollmorgen, Sales Director, Staffing and Recruiting Group for CareerBuilder.


CareerBuilder, ClearlyRated and the American Staffing Association partnered to publish the 2022 Job Candidate Study. They surveyed 1,394 job candidates, with a good mix of full-time employed, unemployed and those actively looking for a job. And put it all together in an informative webinar.


Here are just some of the main takeaways I feel are relevant for a hiring manager.


What does the job search look like in 2022?

They first reviewed the overall landscape. Roughly a third of people surveyed are dissatisfied with their current situation and said they will likely be working at a different company in the next 12 months. But most – 85% – are “optimistic about the future of my career.”


Not surprisingly, the job seekers surveyed find the most success using online job boards, such as CareerBuilder and Monster, and job aggregators, like Indeed. But what stood out is the increase of those using a staffing/recruiting agency as a resource for their job search. At 36%, it’s the highest percentage they’ve ever seen it. Historically, it’s been below 30%. So, for companies like Synergis – and those that use our services – that’s a positive.


What’s most important to job candidates?

When asked about the most important aspects when considering a new position, what was interesting is that job security (60% of respondents) was at the top of the list. They asked about what’s important beyond compensation, which is typically number one. Eric Gregg said in a job market this hot, we would not normally see job security this high. He speculates that it’s most likely driven by the threat of a recession. Number two was schedule flexibility at 59%, which also moved up the list.


Also, increasingly important in attracting talent vs. retaining employees is training & skills growth potential at 45%, a company’s reputation at 37% and a company’s mission/vision at 27%. These are the types of things that you can play up for your roles, beyond compensation, to market your position.


Why do people stay at a job?

Job security (50%) and schedule flexibility (46%) were number one and number two again. We start to see things raise in importance such as the positive impact of the work (34%) and the relationship with their direct manager (20%) that factor more into retention than attraction. Look to focus on these aspects with your passive job seekers.


Why do people voluntarily leave a position?

They broke down the data by generation as there were some big differences. For example, younger candidates (Gen Z, Millennials and Gen X) look for more growth opportunities, while older candidates (Baby Boomers) are hoping for better compensation. One thing that was universally important, and the number two reason people left a job, was mental health. This is a new focus for employees and employers as mental health has increased in importance since the pandemic. Knowing these variations in opinion is important to engage with candidates of different generations in the right ways.


What else attracts candidates to a role?

Remote work and flexibility. Candidates are telling us with apply rates, according to CareerBuilder data. Those jobs with remote work capabilities have a 6x higher application rate than those that don’t. Dave Kollmorgen with CareerBuilder recommends focusing on flexibility if your business isn’t conducive to remote work.


In addition, candidates are increasingly focused on work that they love and work that gives them purpose. The percent that agreed with the statement, “Compared to early 2020 (pre-pandemic) it is more important to me to do something I love,” was 92%. The agreement with this statement, “Compared to early 2020 (pre-pandemic) it is more important that my work has purpose,” was 90%. Also on the list was workplace culture, feeling invested in their career and less willing to put in long hours.


Surprisingly, there weren’t many generational differences in the percentage of people who agreed with these statements. In fact, 96% of Baby Boomers agreed with the importance of doing work they love, and 92% agreed with having work with purpose. Both of these percentages were higher than for Gen Z, Millennials and Gen X.


What is the current remote work landscape?

From the survey, 30% of those employed are currently working remotely. Another 27% say they’ve worked remotely in the past. But there are large differences by type of employment, which was expected. The tech sector leads remote work at 43% followed by the professional category at 39%, office/clerical at 30%, healthcare at 21% and industrial at 13%.


Nearly half of candidates (49%) prefer to work entirely remotely and a vast majority prefer options to work remotely at least part of the time (44%). Only a small portion, 7%, said they never want to work remotely. BLS data says there are roughly two jobs open for every person, so being able to offer remote work can be a big part of attracting candidates.


If you can’t offer remote work as an option, perhaps consider other desirable flexible work alternatives candidates value. These include (in rank order of what they want): flexible start and end times, every other Friday off, unlimited PTO, compressed workweek, increased schedule flexibility for parents, part-time schedule, shift work and job-sharing.


In a nutshell

The challenges of hiring are very real. We feel them, hiring managers feel them and candidates are feeling them. Why not take some of this data to heart and evaluate your entire employment solution to find the workers you need for your business? We live and breathe hiring strategies and would love the chance to get creative with you on yours. Give us a call or reach out to us via email.


About the author

Brooke Hathaway serves as Marketing Manager for Synergis and has 17+ years of experience in marketing. In this role, she is responsible for conveying the Synergis brand promise to hiring managers and candidates alike. Brooke earned a bachelor’s degree from Ohio University in journalism but considers herself a hybrid Bobcat/Buckeye fan. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, watching her kids play sports, staying active and spending time with friends and family.

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