Employee support now main priority for jobseekers, research reveals

Poll finds candidates are increasingly choosing to work for businesses that care about them as well as seeking good salaries, benefits and job security

Care and support for staff are now top of candidates’ wish lists when choosing an employer, a poll has found, leading to calls for businesses to better focus on wellbeing in order to retain staff after the pandemic. 

The survey of 400 UK employees by recruiter Monster found two in five (60 per cent) respondents ranked ‘care’ as either their top or second preference when choosing an employer, with a third (34 per cent) ranking it as their top priority.

While care came a narrow second behind economic aspects such as pay, benefits and job security (35 per cent), according to the research, it was considered more important by more people.

An interesting and stimulating work environment was ranked third by survey respondents, with almost half (45 per cent) ranking it as either their first, second or third priority. 

Only 5 per cent of those polled said a social atmosphere was their most important factor when job hunting.

With employee priorities apparently shifting in the wake of the Covid crisis, the research comes following a separate poll by YouGov on behalf of Microsoft UK, which found more than half of workers who currently have access to hybrid working would quit their jobs if this were withdrawn.

The poll of more than 2,000 UK workers found 51 per cent would leave if the option to work flexibly were removed.

Claire Barnes, chief human capital officer at Monster, said the results reveal job candidates were being “discerning” when choosing an employer, and that it was not surprising given the Covid crisis that employees are prioritising care.

“In a market where candidates have a wider choice of roles than ever before, it's too late for employers to leave discussion of important issues until after selection. Most candidates now want to know the attitude of potential employers to these criteria before they will even consider working for them,” she said. 

“Employees will remember how employers treated them.” Barnes added. “There are essentially two areas where employers may be falling short. First, living up to the values and practices that employees want to see. Second, communicating what they are doing authentically and effectively.”

The poll also found that among employees’ least important factors was career development, with half (50 per cent) of respondents ranking working for an organisation that invests in growing employees as the fifth or sixth most important.