Published by ClearlyRated - 07/11/22

Exclusive Research: The 2022 State of the Job Candidate Study

For 14 years, ClearlyRated has partnered with CareerBuilder and ASA to commission in-depth market research that uncovers insights from hiring managers, job seekers, and staffing professionals. We surveyed nearly 1,400 job candidates between April 6, and May 2, 2022.  More than 70% of respondents were employed full-time, 40% saw themselves as active job seekers (whether currently employed or not) and 5% were unemployed at the time of the survey.

Our CEO Eric Gregg hosted a webinar with guest Dave Kollmorgen, Sales Director for CareerBuilder’s staffing and recruiting group, to share our findings: The Great Rehire and What Job Seekers Really Care About. They discussed:

  • Which job factors matter most to job seekers beyond compensation
  • How candidate priorities have shifted related to mental health, flexibility, and DEI
  • How staffing firms can use this knowledge to stand out to the right candidates
  • Ways recruiters can offer a consultative approach to clients using 2022 talent trends

A record number of people tuned in to learn from our proprietary research. We don’t want anyone who missed the webinar to suffer from FOMO, so we put together this recap. Of course, we couldn’t fit all the wisdom into one blog post. You can watch the full webinar on demand if, like Steven Tyler, you don’t wanna miss a thing.

The Factors that Matter Most to Candidates (Hint: They crave stability more than anything.)

Compared to 2020, people are now more satisfied in their current roles. They also feel more optimistic about their future and believe they are less likely to be working at a different company in the next 12 months. That’s good news when it comes to retention, but it also means you may have to up the ante if you often recruit employed, passive candidates. 

So, which factors might tempt people to move into a new role? Beyond compensation, here are the top five factors candidates selected as “most important” when considering a new job:

  • Job security 
  • Traditional benefits 
  • Schedule flexibility
  • Opportunity to work remotely
  • Career growth potential 

While some may be surprised that the top two spots were snagged by less sexy factors, Dave and Eric noted that each contributes to a sense of stability, which many people haven’t felt over the past two years. This may be why “mental health” has become more important to candidates, regardless of age. If you’re looking to target specific demographics related to experience, here are some interesting tidbits to consider:

  • Millennials and Gen Z candidates would be more likely to leave their current job for a new one if it provides more growth opportunities.
  • Baby Boomers are more likely to leave for better compensation.

Across every age group, the second biggest reason to consider leaving a current employer for a new one is “to help my mental health.



Job Seekers’ Priorities Have Shifted Since Pre-Pandemic

As we continue to funnel months of pandemic into our rearview mirrors, it’s easy to see how this global experience changed workforce expectations and priorities — and now we know it’s likely for good. Our findings show that, when comparing their feelings now to how they felt prior to the pandemic:

  • 92% of people say it’s now more important to them to do something they love. For Baby Boomers, that stat goes up to 96%.
  • 90% feel it’s more important now that their work has purpose.
  • Getting a full-time permanent job is now 3.6x more desirable, while working a full-time temporary assignment through a staffing agency is now 40% less desirable.
  • 82% now feel it’s critical to work for an employer that displays strong diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) philosophies.*
  • Working remotely is now 3.8x more desirable.

“Candidates are clearly telling us through their apply rates that they want remote work,” Dave says. When a job description on CareerBuilder shows the option to work remotely, it gets 6x as many applications as those that don’t. He also notes that transparency helps, too. When a job description includes compensation, the apply rate is 11x higher.

*DEI is important to candidates while working with staffing firms, too. When placed candidates feel a staffing firm is ahead when it comes to DEI, they’re 76% likely to use that firm again but only 50% if they feel it’s behind.

Recruiters Should Take a Consultative Approach

We hope in-house recruiters and staffing firms, alike, use this data to work consultatively with their hiring managers. For instance, there’s a huge gap between what candidates want and what employers are offering, especially when it comes to improving flexibility and offering remote work. While 49% of candidates want to work remotely full-time, only 26% of hiring managers say they’ll allow it. Yet, nearly 90% of workers say they’re just as productive or even more productive working remotely, and 80% of hiring managers agree.

“It’s important for staffing companies to be consultative and share data like this at the front end of a job req,” Eric says. “That improves client satisfaction.” If you get a requisition that doesn’t line up with what you know candidates want, use that opportunity to not only share data but also ask consultative questions. Perhaps there are ways to make a job more flexible even if it cannot be done remotely. Consider flexible start and end times, for instance. You might also ask whether the hiring manager wants to offer a compressed work week, part-time schedules, or even a job sharing program. There are many creative ways to increase flexibility, which is a close runner-up to remote work in terms of desirability for job candidates. 

Want to learn more? Watch the on-demand webinar for more data, discussion, and takeaways from Eric and Dave — including how candidates find and engage staffing firms, plus information about placed talent satisfaction.

Watch the Webinar

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