Salaries sacrificed

Employer branding research depicts a shift in jobseeker priorities

Salaries sacrificed
Salaries sacrificed

April 26, 2012

Long-term job security means more to Australians than a competitive salary, new research by specialist recruitment and HR services provider Randstad has found.

When 7000 people were asked to rate the most important factor influencing their decision to work for a company, 26 percent rated long-term job security as most important, with the company’s financial health rating as second most important (19 percent).

Competitive salary and benefits was a distant third with 11 percent rating it as the most important factor.

Randstad CEO Fred van der Tang says the research, which is part of the world's largest employer branding research project, was a further sign that uncertain economic conditions were having a telling effect on the labour market in Australia and around the world.

Van der Tang says the research represents a significant shift, when the economic outlook was much more optimistic and there was greater certainty in the job market.

"When we conducted the same research in 2011, 25 percent of jobseekers told us salary was the ultimate determinant in the attractiveness of an employer, with only 11 percent electing long-term job security. This year, we have seen a complete reversal," he says.

"It’s remarkable to see such a huge shift in jobseekers’ priorities, but when you take the prevailing economic conditions into account, it makes sense.

"In early 2011, we were emerging from the GFC and there were green shoots emerging everywhere. Business and consumer confidence was strengthening, employees were on the move, and there was pressure on salaries. Clearly, jobseekers were more concerned with better pay than ensuring they have a secure job."

Van der Tang says much has happened in the past year.

"We've had the threat of a double dip recession, the collapse of the US economy, the Eurozone crisis, and slowing growth in China. When you combine this with the recent spate of highly publicised large-scale redundancies at some of Australia’s largest employers, it doesn't paint a very positive picture for jobseekers.

"This year, we’ve seen the pendulum swing back towards employers, which has somewhat eased salary pressure and forced jobseekers to be more conservative in their remuneration expectations."

But Van der Tang says the nature of Australia’s patchwork economy means jobseekers’ priorities vary from industry to industry.

"There's less emphasis on job security by people who work in the travel, leisure, hospitality, IT & telecommunications industries, while those who work in automotive and retail, are less concerned with competitive salaries and employee benefits.

"It’s no surprise that salaries are less of a priority for those seeking to work in retail and automotive, especially considering the struggles these particular industries have faced recently," Van der Tang says.

"Likewise, it’s natural that people seeking to work in the automotive, industrial and manufacturing sectors are most concerned with the company's financial health."

The research also found men are more likely to seek out employers that offer better long-term job security, strong management, career progression opportunities and are more financially stable, while women are more likely to seek out employers that offer flexible working arrangements, who promote diversity in the workplace, have a pleasant working environment and offer better work life balance.

"Knowing what jobseekers want is a complex business. There are so many variants; economic conditions, gender, age, life stage to name a few. It even varies from sector to sector," Van der Tang says.

"While it’s difficult to tailor talent attraction strategies on a case-by-case basis, employers seeking a competitive edge in the war for talent can reap great rewards by paying close attention to these factors when building a strong employer brand."

Randstad is a Fortune 500 Company and one of the world’s largest HR services providers, specialising in executive recruitment, HR Solutions and temporary and permanent staffing across a wide range of specialist industry sectors and professions.

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