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What Are Today's Job Seekers Looking For?

What Are Today’s Job Seekers Looking For?

By MarkD

“Don’t get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.”  – Dolly Parton

The pandemic appears to be winding down.  And then it doesn’t.  And then it does.  Regardless, more and more employers are preparing to get back to “normal”.  “Normal” isn’t the same today as it was in 2019 though, before the world shut down.  Employees have a new-found appreciation for what is truly important in life.  It’s all about balance.  While money is still important, its status is losing ground to other factors.  This means you as employers need to be aware of what today’s job seekers are looking for in a new job opportunity.  Why? 

43% of people who are happy in their current role would be open to a new position if it came along. 

That’s almost half of your workforce that is willing to change jobs for a better opportunity.  So what are today’s job seekers looking for? And how are job seekers defining “better opportunity”?  There are three key elements: Salary, Benefits, and Career Advancement.  

Increased Salary

It’s hard to argue with the almighty buck but, as you’ll see, employees are seeing salary as more than just their base pay.  Most would actually give up an increase in base pay in exchange for other benefits.  Many are even leaving jobs for lower pay, because of other perks and incentives.  That doesn’t mean the numbers on a paycheck aren’t important.  All other factors being equal, employees will still leave if they are offered more money.  That said, there are more important reasons why employees are seeking employment elsewhere these days.


According to a survey of over 2000 employees by Harvard Business Review, 80% of employees would choose additional benefits over a pay raise.  The benefits desired by employees are a great reflection of the recent focus on work-life priorities. “Benefits” covers a wide range of options that differ by company.  They can be anything from 401K, to casual Friday.  From catered lunches to gym memberships.  From extracurricular perks to stipends for gas and oil changes.  All things considered, there are 4 benefits far more desired by today’s employees who are looking for a new job opportunity: 

Better Health, dental and vision insurance was number one with 88% giving heavy or some consideration in their decision-making process.  Immediately behind that were more flexible hours, more vacation time, and work-from-home options.   As we’ve all seen lately, that work-from-home option is becoming a bigger & bigger factor for more and more of your workers.

A recent study from the networking site Blind asked over 3000 employees if they would rather have a $30,000 raise or continue working from home.  64% said their employers can keep that bump in pay – they would prefer to work from home. It’s important that companies know it could be the deciding factor for staff or potential hires.  If their current position won’t allow them to work remotely, or even consider a hybrid option, you can be sure they’re looking at companies that will.

Career Advancement

46% of workers are more likely to leave their jobs when they feel their employers are not investing in their professional development.  Complementing that survey’s findings, a Prudential’s Pulse of the American Worker found that of the 26% of workers planning to leave their employers after the pandemic, 80% are leaving because they’re concerned about their career advancement.  Or lack thereof.

It’s not just about the pay.  The pay increase is a natural effect of recognition, achievement and advancement.  It’s the recognition that is more important to your employees, and the feeling of job security that’s implied.  Hubspot recently discovered that 69% of employees admitted they would work harder if they were better appreciated.

Today’s job seekers and employees are reevaluating what is important to them.  They are looking for a better quality of life and a reasonable work-life balance.  That doesn’t mean they aren’t willing to work, and work hard, but that they’re also looking for recognition for their work as well as opportunities to grow and advance in their careers.  They are realizing the importance of making a life vs. making a living, as Dolly Parton said.

The growing light at the end of this pandemic tunnel is looking different for employers as well as today’s job seekers who are looking for a new opportunity.  If you aren’t already doing so, you should be taking a hard look at these incentives.  How is your company’s ability to allow your employees to work remotely? Is there a clear advancement plan in place for those who want it and deserve it? If you aren’t making these adjustments, just remember, 43% of workers who said they are ‘happy’ where they work are still open to new opportunities.  Those are the happy ones.

So whether you are looking to bring on new team members, or looking to keep the ones you already have in a post-pandemic world, I hope this helps you to understand what today’s job seekers are looking for a new (or existing) job opportunity.

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