Job Seeker Journey Part 1: What Motivates Australians To Look For A New Job?

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Welcome to part one of Indeed’s Job Seeker Journey series! Each month, for the next four months, we’ll delve deeper into the journey of the average Aussie job seeker. This month, we’ll discuss the reasons why Australians are looking for new jobs, and what this means for recruiters looking for top talent for their organisation.

Australians are switching jobs for many reasons. Some start looking for a new job to achieve better pay or work life balance, while others simply want a change. Whatever the reason is, it’s no surprise that many Australians are on the lookout for a new job.

In fact, according to research conducted by Decipher/FocusVision on behalf of Indeed, 52%1 of job seekers say it’s important or extremely important to always be aware of new job opportunities, regardless of whether they’re employed or not. That’s why 56% of job seekers currently subscribe to notifications about new jobs that may interest them.

52% of Australian workers say it's important to be aware of job opportunities

Top reasons why so many Australians are looking for new jobs

It seems that the number one reason why Australians are looking for a new job is for an increase in pay, with 23%2 admitting this was the driving force behind their last job search. However, a close second was the desire to explore other opportunities or try something different. Of the job seekers surveyed, 20% admitted wanting to explore other opportunities and 19% admitted wanting to try something new.

Professional development was also a strong motivator amongst job seekers, with 19% wanting to develop their skills further, and 17% wanting to progress their career.

Why Australians are looking for a new job

Top reasons employees look for new jobs (from biggest to smallest): pay increase; explore other opportunities; try something different; dissatisfied with job; interested in developing skills; wanted a career change; wanted career progression; wanted to use my skills in a different industry; wanted to follow a passion; was made redundant or dismissed; wanted to have a more specific role; recommended to try something by friends, family, colleague, or manager; other.

Pay matters less as Australians progress further in their careers

While 23% of job seekers look for a new opportunity to gain a pay increase, only 13% of Baby Boomers stated this as their top reason. In fact, the strongest motivator for Boomers was the desire to see what other job opportunities was out there (24%). Unfortunately, Boomers often don’t have much choice about their need to search for a new job. This is because Boomers were most likely to report they had been made redundant (22%) – well ahead of Gen X (13%) and Gen Y (7%).

24% of Australian Baby Boomers look for a new job to see what else is out there

Most Australians are only open to new opportunities within their industry

Even though over half of the Australian workforce is always on the lookout for a new job, most are sticking with familiar territory. More than two thirds of job seekers prefer their career to progress within a single industry, despite 91% believing that it’s good to get job experience across multiple industries.

Men are less likely to want to change the industry they work in, with 72% preferring to progress within a single industry compared to 62% of women. Gen Y are also less likely to want to change industries. Of the Gen Y Australians surveyed, 73% expressed desire to stay in their industry. This compares significantly higher to the 62% of Gen X and 55% of Boomers who prefer to progress in a single industry.

Australians thoughts on progressing their careers across multiple industries

91% of employees agree it’s good to get job experience across multiple industries; 87% employees agree their skills are transferrable to another industry; 67% of employees would prefer their career to progress within a single industry.

However, Australians who are looking for new job opportunities to move into a different role, are more susceptible to changing industries. In fact, only 52% of these job seekers want to stay in the same industry when searching for a new job. On the other hand, 40% of Australians who are looking for a new job to progress their career will consider changing industries to do so.

So, what does this mean for employers and recruiters?

While many Australians are looking for new jobs to secure a pay increase, there are many other factors that can contribute to their desire to switch jobs. It’s important for employers and recruiters to be aware of these reasons to ensure they don’t let top candidates slip through.

For example, small to medium sized businesses may not be able to offer the most competitive salary. But, 34% of Australians are looking for new jobs to explore new opportunities or try something different. Additionally, 19% of job seekers started looking because they were dissatisfied with their job. This could be anything from job seekers being unsatisfied with their work-life balance, their company’s parental leave policy or their inflexible working conditions. As a result, organisations that can’t offer candidates large salary incentives can instead capitalise on these other factors to attract top talent to their organisation—or prevent them from jumping ship.

Australians are always on the lookout for new job opportunities, however, their motives vary greatly. That’s why it’s important to remember that attracting the best candidates may not always be about offering the largest salary. After all, good remuneration doesn’t necessarily lead to happiness in the workplace.

Keen to know more? Download Job Hunters: The Complete Guide to read the full report.

1 This research was conducted by Decipher/FocusVision on behalf of Indeed among 1,000 Australian job seekers between June and July 2016.

2 Indeed partnered with Lonergan Research to survey 1,371 Australian workers in July 2018.

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