what candidates want

With many great HR candidates now confidentially exploring what is a relatively healthy mid-senior HR market, clients are also having to explore new ways to attract and retain the best talent. 

We're finding the motivators of candidates have significantly shifted from this time last year. COVID has changed how employees perceive benefits and clients are having to offer modern benefits to support more critical life events to engage top-quality candidates.

From many conversations with mid-senior HR candidates and HR Leaders, here are the top motivators to what candidates want from their next employer in 2021.

  • job stability 

COVID has led to global economic uncertainty. Now more than ever, candidates are prioritizing security and stability in an employer. Clients are getting asked by candidates how the pandemic has affected their industry, and what they're doing to ensure their company stays on top of this. 

  • growth and development 

Growth and development are more important than ever, as people are more likely to associate growth and development with stability. Clients are needing to show candidates that their company is invested in employee growth, allowing candidates to see a potential future with the business and ultimately provide a sense of future job security.

  • total compensation

Previously, candidates indicated that attractive benefits and perks such as gym memberships were a top factor when applying to new roles. Other important factors included high salaries, work-life balance, and the flexibility to work from home. 

Ultimately, candidates are no longer solely attracted to a high salary; rather, they are actively seeking a comprehensive total compensation package. Instead of tangible office-based perks, employees are looking for substantive benefits like healthcare, paid time off, parental leave, and support for mental health services. 

  • flexibility and work-life balance

This year as stay-at-home orders and social distancing measures were implemented, many businesses were forced to move to a digital work environment.

While some employers were previously skeptical about letting employees work from home full time, the pandemic has proved that people can do it, and many candidates in the market will continue to expect it well after the pandemic is over.

Today’s candidates are seriously evaluating a company’s culture when looking at new positions — they want to see that work-life balance is a genuine priority and they want to understand how remote employees are supported.

  • autonomy

Employees thrive in environments where their managers trust them and they have sufficient autonomy to do their jobs. Particularly when many employees are working from home, they want to know that their manager can trust that they will do their job effectively, even when they can’t keep an eye on them in the office.

For organisations to be successful in securing top HR talent in this competitive market, employers are needing to prioritise the desires of their potential employees and be willing to look outside of remuneration and salary in order to attract and retain the best talent in the market.


about the author

sophie ryan - principal consultant

Sophie has developed, promoted and executed HR recruitment strategies that attract top talent in an agency capacity and in-house, working with a range of industries.

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