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The best companies hire the best talent, right? That's easier said than done. If 2021 taught us anything about recruiting, it's this: Companies need to recalibrate their mindsets in order to meet job seekers' expectations.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, US job openings at the end of July 2021 stood at 10.9 million, the highest number ever recorded. Four million Americans quit their jobs in April alone. The record number of available jobs, combined with higher than ever rates of quitting and retirement, has given job seekers added leverage and created a challenge for Human Resources professionals: how can companies attract and retain the talent they need?

In July of 2021, beqom surveyed 1000 job seekers in the US to understand how the pandemic has impacted employee views of compensation, benefits, and work arrangements. The survey also uncovered what prospective employees now expect from their future employers and what employers need to do to attract top talent in this candidate’s market. 

As a result, we came up with some tips for competitive hiring in today’s unprecedented labor market.

1) Remote work and flexible hours are now expected

Tip #1 is that business as usual won’t cut it anymore when it comes to hiring. Four in five American job candidates (80%) now expect their prospective employer to provide the ability to work remotely multiple days a week. They also are looking for flexibility in the hours they work (82%). 

What can an employer do? A good start is to find out how your employees feel about remote work and job flexibility, and adapt work arrangements to the needs of current and prospective employees. It just may give you a competitive edge and happier, more productive employees. Organizations still operating in the pre-pandemic environment (i.e., mandating to work from the office or requiring fixed hours) are likely to lose out on attracting talent. 

2) Americans prioritize pay but are willing to work for less in exchange for flexibility

While nearly two-thirds (64%) prioritize pay as the most important factor when considering a job offer, benefits and lifestyle choices can also weigh heavily on their decision to accept a job offer. A majority of workers say they might be willing to take a salary that is lower than the market average in exchange for flexible working hours (77%), remote work options (71%), and a higher number of PTO days (70%).

What can an employer do? Make the best offers you can to acquire the talent you need, don’t count on perks like pool tables or lunches to do the job. At the same time, endeavor to understand the priorities of your employees and candidates so you can offer the benefits and work structures that will make the most difference to them.

3) Employees want more compensation transparency

Three in five (60%) Americans say salary transparency across all levels (C-Suite to junior employees) is very important in their next role. Additionally, more than two-thirds (67%) of Americans think companies should disclose their CEO-to-employee pay ratios and 70% believe companies should disclose their overall pay gaps.

What can an employer do? Make sure you have the tools to be able to analyze pay equity at your company and to remediate pay gaps that may be due to bias rather than performance or legitimate factors. Invest in solid compensation management technology to enable your compensation strategy.

Get all 10 tips

Want to see what else our survey discovered? We have 7 more hiring tips to share with you. The full report, Employee Expectations in Hiring: Rethinking Compensation Strategies to Attract Talent in the 2021 Job Market, contains valuable insight into what job seekers expect from employers today. Download the free report to get the detailed findings of our survey, what the results mean for employers, and more valuable tips you can use now to attract top talent.

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