What HR needs to know about 2018’s jobseekers

Brian Kropp explains what employers can do to attract – and retain – talent headed for the door post-Brexit 

For the first time since the Brexit vote, workers are reporting having an optimistic outlook on the job market and their own career growth, according to our recent research. Much has already been made of the UK’s decision to leave the EU and the impact it will have on the workforce in terms of wages and employment. However, the noted change in employees’ attitude has a number of wide-ranging knock-on effects, which have yet to be afforded the same level of attention.

What does this mean for the job market?

Optimistic perceptions of business conditions means a higher number of UK employees are looking to change jobs. Our research highlighted that 18.8 per cent of UK employees have very low intentions to stay in their current role, the second highest after India (40 per cent) and higher than the global average of roughly 12 per cent. The first year following the Brexit vote created a lot of uncertainty for employees. As actions become more formalised, workers feel that the worst may be behind them. They feel more confident in making the leap and finding a new job.

For those workers who are looking for new roles, nearly half have ranked work-life balance as their highest priority, followed by location (38.4 per cent) and stability (30.5 per cent). This is a change from the first quarter of this year when employees cited vacation, camaraderie and product or service quality as their key priorities. Even though work-life balance may drop off as the top priority for workers, it will likely remain an alluring prospect.

How HR can capitalise on this knowledge

To capitalise on the current willingness of employees to consider new jobs, organisations must make sure they have a strong Employee Value Proposition (EVP) that differentiates them from the competition and speaks to what employees want most. In the case of UK workers, that’s work-life balance, location and stability. Engaging employees on the attributes they prioritise can generate big dividends. Gartner data shows that businesses with high levels of employee engagement report financial outcomes three times higher than firms with lower engagement levels.

In today’s world, talent is a key differentiator of the organisations that succeed and those that don’t. Companies must not only retain their top performers, they must also attract new talent. Given that work-life balance is an important factor for British workers, businesses looking to attract new talent should actively promote how they enable employees to achieve this via various options, including flexible working hours, telecommuting or the use of new technology.

It’s impossible to predict what the future will hold and the next big thing to send ripples through the HR sector. But with the job market showing encouraging signs of steadying post-Brexit vote, there is a real opportunity for businesses who want to bring in the best and brightest in their respective fields.

Brian Kropp is group vice president of Gartner’s HR practice