What Job Seekers Want from Employers Today


When it comes to priorities for HR leaders and recruiters today and in the coming years, improving the quality of candidates, increasing the speed of hiring, and getting more applicants for each open role ranks highest, according to recent Employ data.

These priorities, however, are contingent upon recognizing what job seekers want in the midst of a challenging labor market. Understanding job seeker motivations today is critical for companies seeking to more effectively attract, hire, and retain talent. 

As recruiters regularly interact with candidates, they experience first-hand what drives candidates to look for new roles and leave their current companies.

Let’s dive into what HR decision-makers and recruiters perceive as the top motivations for why candidates are seeking new jobs, why employees are leaving their current roles, and the types of positions most likely to encounter challenges along the way.

Woman shaking hands with another person in front of a glass office door

The top motivations for today’s job seekers

Based on Employ’s recent survey of more than 1,200 HR decision-makers and recruiters, the top motivation for employees leaving a job is pursuing more money or seeking a more flexible work arrangement. This is followed by seeking career advancement, unemployment or fear of unemployment, and leaving a bad manager or culture.

Seeking a new challenge, looking for a more diverse or inclusive work environment, and finding an office to work from regularly comprised just under 15% of all responses. 

  • Getting more money: 34.4%
  • Ability to work remotely: 21.3%
  • Career advancement: 12.6%
  • Unemployment or fear of becoming unemployed: 9.6%
  • Leaving a bad manager or bad company culture: 8.5%
  • Time for a change or new challenge: 4.2%
  • Find a more inclusive / diverse workplace: 4.9%
  • Ability to work in an office: 4.7%

Interestingly, unemployment or fear of becoming unemployed was rated by one in 10 employees as a top motivator for moving jobs and proactively seeking out other career opportunities.

As talks of recession continue to dominate the hiring and business landscape, it will remain to be seen whether more employees leave their positions in search of something more stable or stay put in their roles longer than they would have based on economic headwinds. 

Primary motivations for employees who quit

When determining why talent leaders and recruiters believe employees are exiting their current org, the top three responses were similar to the motivations in general for finding a new role:

  • Getting more money: 37.1% 
  • Ability to work remotely: 18.6% 
  • Career advancement: 13.4%

However, one in 10 HR decision-makers think that current employees are looking for a change or new challenge and just five percent are leaving because of a bad company culture or manager internally. 

  • Time for a change or new challenge: 12.4% 
  • Leaving bad manager or bad company culture: 5.2% 

Looking for a more diverse and inclusive workplace was higher when evaluating why employees were leaving their current company, but the fear of unemployment was almost half of those human resources leaders who believe it was a top motivator for finding a new role overall. 

  • Find a more inclusive / diverse workplace: 5.1%
  • Unemployment or fear of becoming unemployed: 4.2% 
  • Ability to work in an office: 4.0%
Women sitting by a window looking at her smartphone

Job seeker challenges in the current climate

When it comes to challenges for job seekers, experienced professionals may find more difficulty than entry-level candidates in finding the right roles.

Employ data shows that 49% of recruiters believe experienced workers have the biggest challenge in finding a job today. By comparison, only 15% of talent professionals said those individuals re-entering the workforce saw the biggest challenges. 

When broken down by industry, the gap becomes more drastic. In fact, 57% of recruiters in the construction industry said experienced workers saw more challenges in finding new roles, while 61% of recruiters filling healthcare roles believe this is true. 

Key takeaways when it comes to job seekers

Connecting with job seekers and understanding their motivations will be more important than ever next year. Take care to invest in the needs of candidates and deliver positive experiences for them.

Work to shorten feedback loops, improve communication and collaboration, and engage with applicants more deeply within the hiring process. 

If it is challenging to compete on salary in your company, compete on speed, benefits, and remote work. Ensure you are promoting a diverse workforce, flexible work arrangements, and overall benefits packages to highlight the total rewards package of working at your company. 

If applicable, focus on engaging with gig workers and nurturing relationships with individuals who are in revenue-generating roles. Ensure the hiring process delivers positive experiences that enhance your company’s employer brand.

Overall, just control what you can.

Faster recruiting processes and more attractive, hybrid work environments will result in fewer good candidates withdrawing and fewer rejected offers for your talent acquisition function.

Most of all, speedier sourcing, nurturing, and interviewing processes will help meet your priorities for increasing the quality of candidates and improving overall time to hire in your business. 

Get more labor and hiring market insights

Planning during times of uncertainty is one of the biggest challenges companies face when it comes to guiding the future of their organization. Pursuing a scalable hiring strategy will be essential to attracting, hiring, and onboarding quality talent that will drive organizational performance.

The insights available in this article are only a starting point. For more data, key takeaways, and actionable insights, download the full Employ Quarterly Insights Report here.

Find out how your enterprise TA team can elevate your recruiting and hiring performance in the years ahead with Evolve, our complete Talent Acquisition Suite.

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