31 Aug 2022

Pay, work-life balance, career development key for job seekers survey suggests

4:21 pm on 31 August 2022

New research suggests businesses need to tailor their job adverts and offers to the needs of employees if they want to attract talent.

Man trying to find work with online job search engine on tablet.

The Seek survey sought to determine what would make potential job seekers actually apply for a position. Photo: 123RF

Job website Seek has surveyed 4853 people who were considering changing job in the next couple of years to determine how their circumstances dictate what will motivate them to click the "apply now" button on a job advertisement.

It comes as unemployment hovers around a record low of 3.3 percent, according to recent data from Stats NZ, with many employers complaining about their inability to find workers to fill vacant positions.

Seek's research indicates that pay, work-life balance and career development were the top three priorities across all respondents.

But there were distinct differences based on the candidate's age, gender, industry and where they live.

Job website Seek surveyed 4853 people who were considering changing job in the next couple of years to determine what would make them apply.

The survey suggested younger people tended to prioritise career and development opportunities and salary or compensation when applying for jobs. Photo: Seek / Supplied

For people considered "Generation Z" (under the age of 25), career development was their top priority, followed by work-life balance and salary compensation.

Meanwhile, Baby Boomers placed more value on work-life balance, and location also featured in their top three considerations when choosing a job.

"The key themes of salary, flexibility and career progression still motivate New Zealanders, but it's the motivators within each of those drivers that is the key to knowing your audience and attracting the best talent," Seek market research manager Caroline North said in a statement.

For instance, the research suggests that women value a work-life balance more than men.

"Within the idea of work-life balance there are a myriad of options, such as time in lieu, which 31 percent of women say is a must have, followed by the ability to work from home (29 percent say is a must-have), flexible hours (27 percent) and additional leave (23 percent)," North said.

Working from home was becoming a must-have for more people than ever, with 39 percent of job seekers saying they would resign if it was not an option.

The survey found that men and women were motivated by different priorities when seeking a job.

The survey found that salary or compensation was men's top priority in applying for a job, while women were most motivated by work-life balance. Photo: Seek / Supplied

Seek country manager Rob Clark told RNZ the employment market had fundamentally changed over the past two years, with more jobs than ever being advertised.

Businesses needed to understand what motivated their ideal candidate and tailor their messaging and employment offering accordingly, he said.

"The best employers out there are making that shift to 'what is my proposition?' and 'how do I attract talent in a very tight market?'.

"The slower ones to respond are still using language around 'we need you to do this, do that,' so it's much more what the company wants from the individual, as opposed to what the individual is looking for from the company."

Clark said a recent shift he had noticed was that businesses did not have the same time to make recruitment decisions.

This was highlighted in data out from the IT recruitment firm, Imara Limited, which indicated the average time a business had to hire someone in the tech industry had halved to just seven days.

"Gone are the days of putting a great candidate on ice until others have been considered. The market is forcing companies to accelerate their decision-making," Imara managing director Barry Hardy said in a statement.

Clark said firms had between 24 and 48 hours to respond to an application.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs