The world of work is constantly evolving. For employees, experts predict that finding a job will be simpler than it was a decade ago. Since employees have so many job opportunities in front of them, it’s even more crucial to understand exactly what job seekers are looking for this year.
For the first time ever, we have five generations that compose the workforce. This promises a unique dynamic for employers as they determine what motivates each generation—all while helping their employees work toward common goals. Most generations have some major similarities, however.
Without further ado, here are eight things job seekers will want in 2018:
1. Competitive Compensation
One thing that remains consistent across generation, gender, and geography, is that employees want to be paid fairly for the work they do. As salaries and pay scales have become more transparent, workers have access to compensation information within their industry, city, and in many cases, even their own organization like never before. When someone catches wind that they’re not being paid fairly, they’ll likely seek out an employer who will offer a more competitive salary. There are a whole host of perks you can offer that are designed to encourage employee loyalty, but money is still king when it comes to the most effective retention strategies.
2. Positive Work Environment
People spend the majority of their day at work, and they want to work in a pleasant environment. This goes beyond surface efforts like getting rid of cubicles or providing free coffee. The workplace should feel positive, foster a spirit of cooperation, and encourage employees to be themselves and produce their best work. Investing time and energy in developing strong team dynamics and employee experience can pay off in a big way.
Ongoing employee feedback is key to building that better work environment. In addition to standard 1:1 meetings, many modern teams use feedback tools to track and analyze how employees feel. Some even turn to gamification software to motivate employees to produce their best work.
Employer branding is a hot topic right now. The key is to make sure that your employer brand is authentic.
Whatever you promise within your employer brand to attract talent needs to accurately reflect what existing talent is already experiencing. If what candidates experience during the recruiting phase is not what they see once they get on board, they will let you know, and it may just be on their way back out.
The ability to stay connected 24/7 has contributed to employee burnout. Many employers have phone or email access to employees around the clock, and in many cases, employees are expected to respond regardless of time of day. This makes it difficult for employees to achieve work-life balance and take a break from the daily grind. You might consider fighting employee burnout by providing flexibility in other ways, such as working from home, results-only work environments (ROWE), and non-traditional work schedules.
Many have argued that the amount of autonomy an employee needs varies widely from generation to generation. As the stereotypes go, Generation Y typically values personal feedback, while X prefers to be left alone, and Millenials love to work in groups.
Regardless of age, employees appreciate having the freedom to do their jobs well and employ best practices without too many strict guidelines. Companies that build autonomy, mastery, and purpose into their training and professional development can expect to retain more employees.
6. Personal Development
A traditional view of personal development in the workplace assumes that employees want to grow and learn on an upward trajectory, continuing to develop skill sets that will assist them as they climb up the corporate ladder. What that doesn’t take into consideration, however, is that people are increasingly interested in lateral opportunities. Supporting development in new focus areas is one of the best ways to retain talent, especially when employees become bored with scope of their current role or department.
7. Sense of Purpose
You’ve no doubt heard plenty about this already: more people want a job that provides both a paycheck and a sense of purpose. The old American dream of a white picket fence and a pension plan no longer satisfies today’s employees.
People want to work for companies that make a difference, especially those that contribute to the betterment of society. This is why you’re seeing more employees consider employment with organizations that offer opportunities to make a meaningful difference.
Happiness? Yes. Tiny homes, homesteading, and a movement toward minimalism show us that younger generations increasingly value happiness over things, and this spills over into their work lives in a big way. Employees want to feel valued, and they need to know that the work they do matters. 2018 will continue the trend toward work that makes people feel happy. Consider offering perks and development opportunities that help your employees feel holistically fulfilled in their role.
2018 looks to be a year of opportunity for job seekers. For companies looking to attract top talent, they’ll need to offer ample developmental opportunities and fair compensation—plus, a more transparent, autonomous, and flexible work environment.
Jessica Barrett Halcom is a writer for TechnologyAdvice.com, with specializations in human resources, healthcare, and transportation. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay and currently lives in Nashville, TN.
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