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Jobseekers will sacrifice money for a flexible workplace

Flexibility and meaningful work have overtaken salary at the top of the wishlist of jobseekers, heralding new mindsets coming into play.

A national survey of jobseekers by Talentpath Recruitment revealed 72 per cent of Australian workers rated flexible working conditions above higher salaries, with career pathways and having purpose and meaning in their work close behind.

And 51 per cent ranked an organisation’s reputation as a priority, saying they would research the company online, including employee reviews, before applying. It means businesses that continue to structure employee retention and attraction strategies around salary will be left behind in the race for top talent.

“Candidates are looking for real meaning and value in career opportunities,” Talentpath Recruitment co-director Jody Fazldeen says.

“They are savvy with their questioning, which now more than ever, includes an interest in a prospective employer’s commitment to wellbeing, their purpose and how that translates to corporate responsibility.”

The survey, used to compile Talentpath’s annual Talent Guide, was conducted among jobseekers from a broad range of industries, experience and seniority, to identify what Australian workers really wanted from future employers and from their next career move.

“The annual guide is to assist both jobseekers and employers to navigate stronger and more meaningful conversations as the war for talent heats up across all sectors,” said Jody, who created the guide with co-director Dionne Sharp and the team at Talentpath.

“It is critical for companies wanting to attract and retain the best talent to understand what the modern world of employment looks like to give them any chance of securing them.”

Respondents were clear their top three priorities were flexible working opportunities, values and company reputation.

“Critically, ambitious candidates want to know the company hiring them plans on growing into the future in ways which are sustainable and allow them to grow professionally as well,” Jody said.

“A company’s clear growth strategy would help 31 per cent decide whether to take the job.”

Arguably the biggest surprise of the survey findings is that companies can no longer attract and retain the best talent simply by throwing money at them.

“There’s been a seismic shift in the workforce and the goal for work is no longer about remuneration, but more about achieving work/life balance and wanting there to be a true values alignment with employers,” Dionne says.

While candidates are drawn to quirky benefits such as being able to take their pets to work, an in-house barista or having a family holiday as part of the remuneration package, ultimately, they need to feel valued.

Even performance bonuses and company cars come off second best, with just 32 per cent rating them highly, while 52 per cent rated company reputation and 47 per cent the leadership team a priority.

At the same time, almost 68 per cent said company culture was a priority and 40 per cent were drawn to companies which had clear growth strategies and opportunities for internal mobility.

“Candidates no longer just want big money and rapid career progression,” Jody said.

“They want to know they are valued and trusted.”

Of sales and marketing staff, 78 per cent ranked flexible work arrangements above pay rate and 70 per cent of finance and accounting talent would accept a lower pay rate in exchange for a flexible working location.

The 2019 Talent Guide also includes salary guides for each sector; preferred benefits such as flexible working options; career growth opportunities; leadership and development and health and wellbeing perks.

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