What Do Job Seekers Care About Most When Looking For A New Job?

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Employers generally have a good idea of what they’re looking for when hiring new talent, but that doesn’t always equate to finding the best candidate. Part of getting the recruitment process right is understanding what job seekers want.

So, what do they want?

We surveyed 1,000 Australian professionals* and found that their number one priority when job searching is remuneration. In fact, 71% of respondents have their sights on pay. In second place, location is a major drawcard, with flexible hours coming in a close third. So let’s take a look at some of the drivers and attitudes influencing our survey results.

Job seekers care the most about: good pay (71%); good location (47%); flexible hours (45%)

More job seekers want better pay

With living expenses overtaking household incomes by 2.9 per cent in the last few years, it’s easy to understand why more job seekers have their eye on the money. Jay Munro, our Employer Insights Strategist at Indeed, says that increased living costs could be a factor as well as individual spending habits. Professionals who feel they haven’t reached the pinnacle of their career might also be pushing salary to the top of the priority list. It’s worth considering, though, that what constitutes a good salary might be in the eye of the beholder.

“Pay is a complex subject,” says Munro. “How do we know how much we should get paid or what we should be asking for? Often we base it on what we got paid last time so when we change jobs we automatically ask for more, which is a fairly general practice. Sometimes we’re guided by the amount employers put in their job ads and that anchors us to a range where our salary sits.”

“Worth” might also factor into the pay equation which leads some job candidates to either undervalue or overvalue their skills and experience. What seems like a lucrative salary package to one job seeker might not be so appealing to another.

Location is still a major influencer when choosing a role

After salary, 47% of professionals are looking for a location close to their social network or home for their next job.

“We don’t want to travel too long to work because that means our day is longer than it needs to be,” says Munro. “Working closer to home means more of that work-life balance. And, of course, it also means we spend less on travel. I think it’s very much based on the social aspects of our lives.”

Flexible hours could be the icing on the cake

Candidates also care about flexibility when looking for their next job. Our survey shows that 45% of people remain steadfast in their search for roles that offer flexible hours. With more professionals seeking a balance of work and play, the results are hardly surprising.

For employers, however, flexible work arrangements might hold the key to finding the right candidate. Flexibility may also protect employers from discriminating against job candidates who are disabled, aged or have a family.

A better understanding may lead to better results in finding the right candidate

By understanding what job seekers want, employers can be more discerning throughout the recruitment process and leverage the top priorities.

“I think with this survey showing that candidates are still so driven by pay it’s an indicator that employers need to make sure they are competitive in market,” says Munro. “It’s a good opportunity to look at what other organisations in their industry are paying for similar jobs to ensure they’re being competitive.”

Munro suggests that having an awareness about candidates asking for more pay means that employers can be better prepared for job interviews. While budget restraints can rule out the salary expectation of a desirable candidate, employers can take the opportunity to highlight other benefits to offset a lower wage, such as a higher superannuation package or private health insurance.

Do your job descriptions outline the things job seekers care about?

A survey by TekSystems unearthed that 72% of employers think that their job descriptions are clear, while only 36% of job seekers agree. The discrepancy tells us that employers still have ample opportunity to enhance their job ads to attract the talent they need.

The majority of employers think job descriptions are clear, but few job seekers agree

While detailing the metrics of success and scope of responsibility is key, it’s also important for employers to use their job ads to spell out the benefits that set them apart from other organisations. So, talking up that competitive remuneration package, great location, flexible working arrangements, amazing work culture and so on, are all important details that might help to attract great candidates.

Regarding flexibility, keep in mind that it means different things to different people, so clarify what ‘flexibility’ actually means at your company. Does it mean working from home? Does is mean job sharing? Does it mean part time? The clearer you are about what you have to offer job seekers, the more likely you are to find candidates who are the right fit.

Source: *Decipher/FocusVision on behalf of Indeed

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