The job market is improving, which means companies are competing again for talent. While money still matters to job seekers, a new study by human resources company Randstad shows they want more than just a competitive pay check.
“A competitive salary and benefits is still one of the top things candidates are looking for, but it’s not the only thing that’s important to them,” says Phyllis Finley, executive vice president for Randstad US. “Long term job security and a pleasant work environment are critically important.”
Randstad surveyed about 7,000 people and aimed to gauge what job seekers want out of a new employer and to underscore the importance of employer branding for companies trying to lure talent. According to Finley, companies have to think about their brand as a billboard that tells potential employees what it’s like to work for the company and what its values and culture is all about. “You have to brand internally and externally,” says Finley. “Companies need to look at what type of culture they are building, whether or not employees are proud to work there and do they have career development.”
Additionally, the Glassdoor Q4 2012 Employment Confidence Survey found that although employees (73%) rated salary and compensation among top influencers when deciding whether to accept a job offer, location/commute (55%) and career growth opportunities (30%) also stood out among top influencers. Other influential factors employees cited include the amount of work (22%) and company reputation (17%).
When it comes to what men and women want out of a company and what factors are influential when evaluating a job offer, job seekers have very different needs depending on their gender. Randstad found that the majority of male survey respondents prefer companies that are financially solid, have strong managers, offer career opportunities and use cutting edge technology. Their female counter parts, on the other hand, want to work for companies that have flexible work hours, are easily accessible and operate in a pleasant environment. Glassdoor reports that women consider salary, location and company values as more influential than men when evaluating a job offer: Salary (women: 77%, men: 69%); location/commute (women: 61%, men: 49%); company values (women: 21%, men: 12%).
The age of the job seeker will also determine what attributes they want from the company they choose to work for. According to the Randstad survey, potential employees aged 35 to 65 want to work at companies that are not only financially healthy, but ones that offer job security, a competitive salary and accessibility. According to Glassdoor, 64% of those aged 45-54 and 64% of those 55+ consider location and commute an important factor when evaluating a job offer compared to 42% of those 18-34 years old. Further, according to Randstad, job seekers aged 18 to 34 are more attracted to those firms that offer global career opportunities and interesting jobs.
“Different groups of employees are really seeking out different needs in terms of job content,” says Finley. “Some of the younger workers that are less educated are looking to acquire skills. In contrast the mature women worker is looking for independence.” Since the needs and wants of job seekers is so different, Finley says companies have to get to know the employees coming to the organization to ensure they are giving them what they want. “It’s not about crafting one program. They have to meet the needs of the individual employee if they are going to attract and retain in the organization,” she says.
For example, younger workers aged 18 to 34wouldn’t think twice about leaving a company if they were underpaid or there weren’t enough career opportunities for them. Older workers would be more inclined to leave if the work environment was unpleasant.
“Companies should really remember this is a very volatile topic in terms of really attracting and retaining employees,” says Finley. “If you are positioning for employees to come to your organization be smart and make sure to pay close attention to your brand.”