About 8 in 10 workers are open to new job opportunities, although almost half of them believe it's at least somewhat harder to find a job this year than last, according to a recent survey.
Recruiting software company Jobvite's 2018 Job Seeker Nation Study measured the attitudes of 1,500 U.S. workers about future career opportunities and the job search experience.
Compensation was the No. 1 factor for leaving a job, but younger workers were especially concerned about a lack of growth opportunities. Women reported being more likely than men to leave a job for work/life balance.
"It's empowering to see people realize they don't have to work for an employer or stick around if they feel they're not being compensated fairly or [want] to strive for a better work/life balance," said Vicki Salemi, a former corporate recruiter who is now a careers expert with global job board Monster and an author based in New York City. "Even if you're happy in your current job, it's always beneficial to set up job alerts and keep your options open."
Candidates define growth for themselves in various ways, said Laura Mazzullo, owner of East Side Staffing, a New York City-based recruitment firm focused on HR roles. "For some, it's a bigger title. For others, it's more money. For some, it's exposure to senior leadership or having more autonomy and ability to create. The key is for employers to listen to the unique needs of each new hire and employee and customize growth paths to meet their unique needs."
Retention Begins with Onboarding
Almost a third of respondents (30 percent) have left a job within the first 90 days of work, with 43 percent indicating that their day-to-day role wasn't what they expected. Another third (32 percent) said the company culture drove them away.
"I've seen many employees in this market resign shortly after joining a new organization," Mazzullo said. "In some cases, it's due to a candidate's lack of self-awareness regarding what they really needed and wanted; in other cases, it's due to a horrible onboarding period, a lack of training, a lack of engagement, a lack of even the right technology or tools available for the individual to be successful. I've also heard of people hired for one thing only to have their role completely changed once onboarded."
Employers should view the onboarding process as an important retention tool as early as day one, Salemi said. "A successful onboarding process is critical for the post-recruitment period, so new hires can assimilate and adjust smoothly into their new role. Without this, a new hire may quickly decide he or she doesn't like what they see and leave before they settle in."
Mazzullo recommended that organizations train hiring managers on giving and soliciting candid feedback, especially during the first few months of a new hire's tenure. "It's imperative that new hires feel safe and comfortable talking with their manager about the support they need, the type and frequency of communication they need, and things that can be improved. It's the start of a new relationship and needs to be treated as such—with care."
Take Culture Seriously
The vast majority of job seekers (88 percent) cited culture as at least somewhat important in deciding whether to apply to a company, and close to half (46 percent) said it's very important. Nearly a third (32 percent) said they would be willing to take a 10 percent pay cut for a job with a more appealing work environment or company mission. Fifteen percent said company culture was the main reason they turned down a recent offer.
"Company culture is integral to how job seekers perceive companies," Salemi said. "Sure, it may look good on paper, but what's the culture like? If it's toxic and clashes with your personal values, it's game over before it begins. The fact that nearly one-third of job seekers would be willing to take a pay cut underscores just how important work environment, as well as company mission, is to job satisfaction and happiness."
Mazzullo said nearly every note she receives from an active job seeker describes the mismatch between the job seeker and his or her current employer's culture. "Today's employees are more discerning, self-reflective and informed about the type of organizational culture that best suits them and their needs," she said. "Job seekers crave authenticity and transparency; they want to really know what they're about to embark upon. Candidates will see right through the rose-colored glasses of a phony corporate culture or a place trying to be something other than what they are. They want the message about an employer brand to be consistent in every touch point during the hiring process."