Benefits and Compensation, Learning & Development

Wondering What Workers Want? Research Gives Employers Some Clues

There’s no denying that all the upheaval over the last few years has had an outsized effect on the workforce. Among other things, employees weathered a worldwide health crisis and its resulting economic disruption along with the rise of artificial intelligence, which to many workers seems as scary as it is promising. With so much turmoil and uncertainty, it’s not surprising employees have a lot on their minds. Researchers have been busy trying to sort everything out. Here’s a look at what a couple of efforts turned up.

Monster 2024 Work Watch Report

Monster’s 2024 Work Watch Report identifies seven key takeaways:

  • Most workers surveyed said they are looking for new jobs.
  • Most said their wage hasn’t kept up with rising costs.
  • Burnout is taking its toll as staffing shortages increase workloads.
  • Flexible work hours are vital to most workers.
  • Employees are returning to the office.
  • Despite technological advancements, workers aren’t always taking advantage of the tools they have available.
  • Nearly three-fourths of workers said they would apply to a company even if it doesn’t have significant diversity, equity, and inclusion policies.

One of the takeaways employers must not ignore is the finding that 95% of workers are looking for or plan to look for a new job this year. Just because many people are making themselves available doesn’t mean employers are able to quickly find the candidates they want.

The Monster report noted that employers’ top priorities for 2024 are to improve the success rate on hard-to-fill roles and to reduce the time to fill positions.

Even though many workers say they want to look for new opportunities, they often don’t stick around throughout the employer’s hiring process. Why? According to Monster, 47% of employees surveyed said poor communication from a potential employer was to blame. Examples of poor communication include not being updated on their application status or their messages not being responded to quickly or at all.

The research found that 46% of respondents said the interviewer’s attitude or behavior was a turnoff. A similar number, 43%, said it was the recruiter who was the problem.

Burnout is another issue on employees’ minds, according to Monster’s research, with 75% of respondents saying they feel burnt out because of staffing shortages that increase their workloads.

Another finding: 75% of respondents said they don’t think their employer is doing enough to address their mental wellness Fifty-seven percent of respondents said they would rather quit and 32% would rather be laid off than work in a toxic workplace.

Randstad Workmonitor 2024

Randstad’s Workmonitor 2024 report also delves into what employees have on their minds and advises employers to focus on a new talent “ABC.” The A stands for ambition, the B balance, and the C connection.

In a foreword to the report, Randstad CEO Sander van‘t Noordende said, “Ambition is no longer viewed in its traditional sense of career progression.” Instead, people are rethinking ambition and “putting work-life balance, flexibility, equity and skilling at the heart of career decisions.”

Regarding how employees feel about balancing their work and personal lives, the report says that balance now ranks as highly as pay on workers’ lists of priorities. Also, 60% said their personal lives are more important than their work lives, and 51% of those surveyed are happy to stay in a role they like even if there is no room for career progression.

On connection, the report says employees “favor employers whose opinions, values, and world views reflect their own as like-minded partners who they can forge connections with and improve equity in the workplace.”

The report also notes that 38% of those surveyed wouldn’t accept a job if they didn’t agree with the views of the organization’s leadership, with 54% considering their employer’s stance and actions on social and political issues important.

The Randstad research also says employees want to future-proof their skills, especially considering the rise of artificial intelligence (AI).

“Despite more complex attitudes to career progression and ambition, there is a continued thirst for training and development in both current roles and for future career moves (72%),” the report says. “Around a third (29%) would even go as far as quitting a job that didn’t offer adequate learning and development (L&D) opportunities.”

Learning to use AI is at the top of the list of skills employees want to develop, and they see responsibility for training and development “residing with both themselves and their employers.”

Tammy Binford is a Contributing Editor at HRDA.


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