- PageGroup research highlights a disconnect between the needs of candidates and how businesses approach the recruitment and cultivation of talent
- Flexible working highlighted as a key motivator for 57% of job candidates
- Long-term service is low; just 12% of respondents employed in their current role for over ten years
UK job candidates are increasingly turning their backs on traditional career models post-recession, moving more frequently and looking for added benefits like flexible working, according to new research released today by specialist recruitment company, PageGroup. The findings are published as part of Candidates and Careers: A Step Change, a report produced by PageGroup that aims to discover what today’s candidates consider important in a role and what motivates them. PageGroup questioned 1,026 respondents as part of this research; 51% of respondents were male and 49% were female.
The findings show that while candidates are focused on building a career that’s right for them, on both a professional and personal level, businesses are behind the curve when it comes to understanding and meeting this demand.
“As candidates become more confident and bullish, and start to look at their next career moves, employers must prepare for acceleration in job activity and ultimately evolve in line with candidate perspectives,” commented Oliver Watson, Managing Director, PageGroup. “The economic crash and subsequent impact on businesses across the globe has created a significant shift in how candidates approach their careers and what was offered by businesses five to ten years ago is no longer a draw.”
Candidate attraction – the challenge
PageGroup data shows a significant increase in candidates searching for new roles, with new job applications up 71% on 2009 levels. This has created a war for talent on many fronts, with UK businesses struggling to compete in a limited recruitment pool. So what do businesses need to do to attract the best candidates?
- Candidate aspirations and the disconnect with employers – Candidates now aspire to achieve a better work-life balance. Across all age categories, respondents are more motivated by the opportunity to work flexibly than they were at the start of their career, with 57% of respondents highlighting this as a key motivator. However, there is a clear disconnect between businesses and candidates on this, with only 17% of respondents having been exposed to the option of flexible working in the last 12 months
- Decline of the BigCo draw – Only 13% of UK employees identified company brand and reputation as a primary consideration when accepting their current role, suggesting UK employees are no longer drawn by the pull of ‘BigCo recruitment’
- Changes in commitment – jobs no longer ‘for life’ – Just 12% of respondents have been employed in their current role for over ten years. The highest proportion, over one quarter (28%) of respondents indicated that they have been in their current role for 2-5 years. Long-term service is low as candidates are less wedded to the traditional career path
- Traditional ‘bread and butter’ considerations vs. added value benefits – Traditional ‘bread and butter’ considerations such as salary and location have long influenced career paths. However, additional considerations are now also influencing decisions in the workplace and impacting the career choices made. Company culture is more important to respondents aged 28-30, with 45% indicating that they were more motivated by this now than at the start of their careers
Commenting on the findings, Watson explains, “There’s simply no denying that today’s candidates are almost unrecognisable from the pre-recession working landscape – and our research highlights just what it is that sets them apart. With business starting to boom, candidates can now look at opportunities to shape their careers, rather than let their careers shape them.”
He continues, “Ultimately, the key to success lies in businesses understanding the needs of today’s candidates. We tend to see a pattern of ‘recruiting for the right now’, with businesses adopting a short-term approach to recruiting candidates in order to meet increased demand from an improved market. Businesses need to think of the future and must begin to think of the long-term needs. Those that are agile in their recruitment processes and that take the time to understand the changing priorities for candidates within a role will take the lead in recruiting the best talent.”