At Bond Williams, our recruitment consultants speak to hundreds of job seekers each week and as a result, have their finger on the pulse when it comes to candidate expectations.
In a job market that is likely to remain candidate-driven for at least the next year, it’s important that businesses take notice of what their prospective employees want from their next role.
We take a look at the findings from recent surveys and studies and provide our opinion based on the feedback we’ve received directly from candidates.
Salary isn’t top of the list
A recent study by job board, Indeed, found that only 12% of British workers consider pay the most important factor in their jobs. In addition, more than half of workers (55%) would turn down a large pay rise if it meant working with people or in an environment they didn’t like.
This is certainly a trend we are seeing at Bond Williams too. Hannah Darby, Principal Recruitment Consultant, Office & Commercial, commented: “Salary is of course important, and more experienced candidates who are actively looking for a new role are usually clear about their absolute minimum. We work with our clients to ensure they offer the most competitive salary possible, but also help them market the other benefits of working for their company. It is rarely the case that when candidates have more than one offer on the table, they make the decision based purely on pay.”
Work-life balance and flexibility a growing trend
Three-quarters of employees favour jobs offering flexible working, according to Powwownow. Different research from TotalJobs also revealed that 24% of candidates are attracted to roles that give them the opportunity to have a healthier work life balance.
Commute times, which now stand at an average of 58.4 minutes per day, are often behind requests for flexible working. However, the TUC says employers not offering flexible and home working is one of three reasons why commutes to work are getting longer.
Charmaine Padfield, Managing Consultant, IT & Software Solutions, said: “Many people calculate the time it takes for them to get to their normal place of work into their overall hours. If the option to start or leave earlier or later is not an option, then it can put many suitable candidates off who have hobbies or childcare considerations, for example.
“In the IT & Software division in particular, a large number of developers and technical specialists want to be able to work from home and telecommute due to the nature of the role. It’s not always possible for businesses to accommodate such requests, but it’s certainly something they should consider offering.”
Development opportunities wanted
In its 2018 Learning and Development Trend Report, e-learning provider, GoodHabitz, revealed that 81% of workers think it’s important or very important for employers to invest in their development. According to another 2018 report from LinkedIn, a huge 93% of employees also said they would stay at a company longer if it invested in their careers.
Our consultants have found that this requirement differs between sector and role level, however. Louise Woodward, Associate Director, Accounting & Finance, commented: “In some industries, there is a clear development path which employers expect to provide and candidates expect to be offered. Take the Accounting & Finance sector, for example. Generally speaking, however, at a junior level, a lot of candidates like to know there are career progression opportunities, especially if they aren’t following a specific career path following study.
“Likewise, middle-management and upwards are certainly interested in learning new soft skills, like leadership and communication, as well as hard skills as technology develops. In all cases, it’s an added bonus if companies allow learning and development time during working hours.”
Benefits package is integral
Nearly nine in 10 (89%) UK workers claim benefit provision is integral to their decision-making process when it comes to getting a new job. Research from Willis Towers Watson has revealed that pensions schemes are most valued for 62%, followed by health insurance (43%), life insurance (40%), critical illness cover (35%) and health cash plans (32%).
Peter Knibbs, Recruitment Manager, Engineering, Science & Space, said: “Almost all candidates I have come across will assess the whole package before making a decision. There’s a lot to be said for cash plans and also anything that encourages a healthy lifestyle.
“Having said that, it’s not always about the added extras either, but simple benefits like flexibility, free parking, holiday allowance, sick pay and location. This means that smaller employers with smaller budgets can compete if they are willing to be creative.”
Speedy recruitment process
The research from Indeed, referred to above, also highlighted how a company’s hiring process can impact how potential new recruits perceive a business. Prospective employees value efficient and fast communication, with 65%stating that speed of response from the employer was the most important factor in establishing trust.
This point is also backed up by the fact that 43% of jobseekers would feel undermined if a potential employer took longer than a week to respond to them.
Claire Bond, Director, said: “It is increasingly the case that businesses are taking too long to review CVs, arrange interviews and then provide feedback and make a formal offer when they do eventually find a suitable candidate. Either they are too busy and this falls to the bottom of the ‘to-do’ list, or they want to wait for similarly suitable candidates to come along so they can make a true comparison. Unfortunately, when there are more jobs than candidates, employers risk missing out on their ideal employee if they don’t act fast.”
Your overall company culture and environment
All of the above helps to paint a picture of your employee-facing brand and what it would be like to work for your company. Culture is becoming increasingly important to candidates, who want to enjoy going to work as much as being paid well, valued and looked after.
Suzanne Sherriff, Associate Director, Office & Commercial, concluded: “Whether you’re looking to fill a permanent or temporary role, candidates will always want to know the name of the company so they can do their own research. If you have a bad employer reputation, this can negatively impact your ability to attract the right talent, so breeding a positive culture should be a focus for every business. Likewise, a slow recruitment process can imply you are not serious about recruiting.”