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2022 is starting with historically low unemployment and an unprecedented number of job openings in the U.S., confounding both politicians and hiring managers. The country has one of the lowest unemployment rates in nearly 50 years, while over 10 million jobs remain unfilled. 

This means that job seekers have options when it comes to choosing where they want to work. The most desirable candidates are assessing potential employers more critically, pressuring employers to impress candidates from the recruitment stage all the way through hiring, onboarding, and beyond.

beqom’s research gives some clues as to how employers can compete for talent, both in the U.S. and globally.

Job expectations have changed

Businesses have been raising wages and offering signing bonuses to attract job seekers, but the worker shortage persists, suggesting that other factors are at play. Our latest research report, the Employee Expectations in Hiring Report, indicates that employees are concerned about factors other than money alone.

To showcase your organization’s differentiators, it’s important to understand employees’ changing expectations and how to evolve your corporate culture and total rewards practices to keep up with what today’s job seekers desire from their future employers.     

If you want to attract the best candidates and actually fill your open positions this year, pay attention to these three characteristics that are high on their list of expectations:

1. More flexibility in work and rewards

Job candidates evaluate companies through a different lens now. They are demanding flexible work arrangements, higher pay, and support for a balanced life. More than four in five American job seekers (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%), with two-thirds (67%) expecting paid parental leave.

 

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While nearly two-thirds (64%) prioritize pay as the most important factor when considering a job offer, and over half (52%) expect their salary will be higher in a new job, job flexibility can override pay. Three of four Americans (75%) would accept a lower salary if the job offered flexible working hours.

Benefits and lifestyle choices come second to money in importance to candidates, with just 17% saying they care most about benefits, and 16% giving the highest priority to lifestyle factors like flexible hours, remote/hybrid work options, or work-life balance. When it comes to flexibility, women (13%) were more than twice as likely as men (6%) to say flexibility in hours or work-life balance were most important.

 

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The bottom line is that employees want lives that work. Job candidates want benefits that support them in having an easier family or personal life. A majority expect their prospective employer to have paid parental leave (67%), commuter benefits (66%), and a childcare stipend (52%).

Flexibility in rewards packages, and the ability to tailor rewards packages to individual needs can go a long way toward attracting and retaining talented employees.

2.More transparency around pay equity

Job seekers care about pay equity. Even before the pandemic, a majority of workers (63%) said they would be more willing to work at a company that discloses its gender pay gap figure each year. Fair pay—regardless of gender, race, age, or other factors irrelevant to performance or skill—is essential to designing equitable compensation programs. 

Today’s job seekers demand more and want to know that their salary offer is not only competitive and meeting industry benchmarks, but that it is also in line with peers in similar roles within the company. Three in five Americans say salary transparency across all levels is important in their next role. More than two-thirds (70%) believe companies should disclose their overall pay gaps

 

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Organizations that ignore employees’ desires for pay transparency will not only miss out on benefits like high levels of staff motivation and performance but will also run the risk of losing top talent because they don’t feel they are being fairly compensated. And, full compensation transparency is increasingly important for compliance with government regulations.

To support fair and transparent pay, ensure that you have the means to benchmark pay for your positions, internally and externally, and to ensure pay equity while factoring in locations and remote work. This means having the data and tools needed to analyze pay equity and to remediate pay gaps that may be due to bias rather than performance or legitimate factors. 

3. Positive company culture and brand

Company culture is always a topic of discussion during interviews, and thanks to social media, job boards, and resources like Glassdoor, candidates have the opportunity to investigate a company’s culture before they even submit a résumé for consideration. While today’s multi-generational workforce is diverse, candidates of all backgrounds want to know whether their prospective employer’s company culture supports their priorities. They care about company values and policies, like how a company responded to the pandemic and their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) efforts.

Taking the time to articulate your company culture should be a top priority for any organization. Those that successfully define their culture will have a better understanding of the people that they want to attract. Portraying this culture might seem like a great challenge but it goes a long way to both attracting and retaining the best employees that a company seeks.

Make sure the employer brand you project is also a reality for current employees. If you’re not sure, apply the same concepts to your existing staff: understand if their needs have changed and what would support them, learn how they feel about work arrangements, be transparent about pay, ensure you are paying competitively and fairly, and communicate total rewards so they understand their compensation and how it is determined.

Be a company that works

In short, to attract and motivate job seekers and employees, you need to (a) adjust policies to meet their needs and (b) have the operational capabilities to deliver on your promises. Good intentions can only be realized if you have the right tools.

Workers have come to expect efficiency and automation in processes, and your employer brand is boosted if you have a reputation for innovation and smooth execution. When it comes to total rewards, you need the ability to structure flexible and competitive rewards packages, analyze pay equity, provide pay transparency, and clearly communicate total rewards.

Now is the time to evaluate your compensation management technology to ensure it can enable your rewards strategy to meet your talent needs in 2022. Check out our Compensation & Hiring Survival Kit for free resources to help you use compensation strategically to attract and retain talent.

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