Benefits and Compensation, Recruiting

Examining the Critical Factors Employers Must Understand About Candidate Expectations

As the United States navigates a historic labor shortage, it’s critical for employers to adapt to the changing employee benefits landscape and compensation demands. Employers must understand that today’s jobseekers are evaluating companies differently, and the kinds of benefits and wages that will attract them are changing, as well. According to beqom’s 2021 Employee Expectations in Hiring Report, 71% of Americans would be willing to accept a salary lower than the market average if the organization provided remote work options, showing remote work is here to stay, even as we transition into post-pandemic life.

As employers navigate this new reality, what will it take to get employees on board as we look toward the end of the year and into 2022? Let’s explore what is most important to jobseekers and how employers can adjust to compensate.

Fair Compensation Is Key to Hiring 

 While many employees have shifted priorities in their personal and professional lives due to the pandemic, one thing that hasn’t changed is the need for competitive compensation. The Employee Expectations in Hiring report found nearly two-thirds (63%) of Americans are aware of the current industry benchmark for their desired role. Employers looking to stay one step ahead should prepare to offer competitive salaries, as employees are staying knowledgeable about their worth. Fifty-two percent of Americans are expecting higher salaries in new jobs, so employers must be sure to check salary benchmarks.

Despite this knowledge, many employees are still shy to negotiate pay or ask about compensation in initial job screenings because they fear they don’t have enough leverage (24%) or are nervous they may lose out on the opportunity (19%). More than 2 in 5 (43%) Americans did not negotiate their salary when interviewing for a new job during the pandemic, including more than half (54%) of women. Providing a greater sense of transparency around salaries can help employees understand if the compensation will meet their expectations and show it is aligned with current labor markets, reducing negotiation anxiety on both sides.

Pay Transparency Can Influence an Influx of Candidates

 More than half (55%) of Americans say they have been pressured by an employer to avoid disclosing their pay to coworkers. However, today’s jobseekers believe information about compensation should be shared openly, uncovering a clear disconnect.

Increased pay transparency can prove to be beneficial for both jobseekers and employers. More than 1 in 4 (27%) Americans believe employers should provide pay transparency in job postings, and 6 in 10 (61%) are more likely to apply to a job that shares a salary in the job posting. Creating pay transparency from the start can attract more applicants, which leads to more qualified candidates applying for (and ultimately filling) open positions.

 Employees Expect Brands to Make a Difference

 When the pandemic hit, most organizations decided to let their employees work from home when possible in order to keep them safe. However, not all companies were vocal about the way they handled the pandemic. Now, over a year and a half later, candidates are evaluating companies based on their corporate citizenship, with more than two-thirds (76%) saying how a company responded to the pandemic plays a factor in applying for and accepting a position. Two-thirds (66%) of Americans take things a step further by doing more research into a company’s corporate social responsibility efforts than before the pandemic.

Jobseekers value a company that invests in not only its product, clients, brand, and staff but also bettering the world around it. Employees want to feel proud to be a part of the organization they are working for, and because employees are a company’s best advocates, positive employee sentiment can improve business results, as well.

Benefits Should Reflect Today’s Work Environment

The pandemic has given employees a new perspective on balancing their personal and professional lives. When searching for a new job, candidates are now looking for benefits that better support their family or personal life in lieu of benefits that only exist inside the office, such as:

  • Paid parental leave (67%)
  • Commuter benefits (66%)
  • Childcare stipends (52%)

A top benefit for today’s jobseekers is flexibility; the report found 82% of respondents are seeking flexibility in the hours they work. In fact, more than two-thirds (77%) of Americans would consider accepting a salary lower than the market average if it means they’ll have flexible working hours. Additionally, 65% of Americans say they would take a pay cut if it meant they’d be given remote work options.

Employee needs will continue to evolve over time. But as long as employers continue to meet those changing needs, they can continue creating opportunities that will attract the most qualified candidates to their team.

Tanya Jansen is the Co-Founder of beqom.