A tight labor market has given job seekers the upper hand. Workers are making it clear they want more from employers — and they feel empowered to ask for it. Failure to adjust to this watershed moment in the workforce will put recruiters at a disadvantage in attracting and retaining talent. When it comes to recruiting applicants, staffing companies need to understand and accommodate the needs of job seekers during this era of the Great Resignation (also known as the Great Reshuffle).
In 2021, job seekers collectively formulated a clear view of what they want from their working careers. What was once accepted as conditions of work is no longer acceptable to them. When they aren’t feeling respect and appreciation from their employers, they are quitting their jobs. This trend is continuing into 2022. Employers and staffing companies haven’t witnessed anything like this in all their years of hiring.
So, what are job seekers prioritizing during their hunt for a better job? This article investigates the changing needs of a workforce in demand.
Increased flexibility in the workplace has been one of the most significant developments in work and the pandemic. A 2021 study from Manpower Group Solutions found that nearly 40% of job seekers listed schedule flexibility as one of their top three factors in career decision-making.
So, job seekers want flexibility, but how do they define it? The flexibility they seek should not be confused with hybrid work. Coming into the office one to two days a week, working the rest of the time from home, and being available each day between the hours of 9-5 is not their definition of flexibility.
Instead, the new expectation of flexible work conditions includes:
- The choice to work from home full-time, part-time, in the office, or any preferred location.
- Flexible start and end times, eliminating the strict 9-5 workday.
- The ability to work with open time schedules once deadlines have been met.
- Time off as needed for vacations, caregiving, and family.
Special attention needs to be given to caregiving and accommodating family life. The pandemic has disrupted everyone’s schedule, but working parents have borne the brunt due to school closures and online learning. Flexibility is especially important for women, who continue to shoulder the majority of family caregiving, whether looking after children or elderly relatives. With companies focused on diversity, flexibility is one way to recruit more women to companies.
The right work/life balance
Work/life balance is tied to flexibility but takes into consideration the sharing of time and energy fairly between work and family life.
The pandemic led to people working longer hours remotely. So, while a job seeker wants flexible work hours, they may not appreciate email exchanges with their managers past a certain time in the evening. Instead, they want the flexibility to ‘turn off’ work after a specific time of day.
The right work/life balance benefits companies as well. Employees who have the right work/life balance are more engaged, productive, less stressed, and experience higher job satisfaction. For recruiters, this means a happy client and a happy temp worker.
The increase in younger generations entering the workforce has resulted in the prioritizing of values as part of their job hunt. Shared values aren’t a nice to have for Gen Z workers – they are a requirement. In today’s market, job seekers check reviews to see how a company’s values align with their own. Workers want to be associated with an organization that share values such as reputation, culture, sustainability, philanthropy, or social impact.
When placing temporary workers, recruiters should be ready to answer questions about their client’s company culture. Workers want to assess the organization’s:
- Sustainability efforts around the environment
- Where they spend their philanthropic budget
- How they define and measure their social impact – within the company, and externally among their community.
Career progression, training, and re-training
Job seekers may be seeking better work conditions, but they are also motivated by career advancement opportunities. Concerns over career stagnation compel many workers to seek opportunities to improve their skills. While workers can continue to learn and train on their own time, they want to be placed with companies that have a proactive training and progression program. Employers who accommodate career advancement opportunities benefit from having more engaged employees, better morale, increased productivity, and lower turnover.
Recruiting firms that offer training can leverage this benefit to attract top candidates. Additional benefits include having a lower churn, and a happy talent pool that acts as ambassadors for the staffing company.
Feeling like part of a team
Temp workers know that they are placed with a client company for a limited time, but there’s no reason why they should feel temporary. Make them feel like they’re a valued member of your staffing company’s team. Feeling like a contributing member to a larger growing organization increases job satisfaction and productivity. Plus, they’re more likely to renew their contract, saving staffing companies time and money by not having to find, hire and train new people.
Make them feel like a member of the team:
- Conduct proper onboarding – not only with your firm but by ensuring your client also properly onboards them. Make appropriate arrangements with your client before the worker starts and check-in with the worker after their first week.
- Introduce them to other members of your team
- Invite them to all necessary meetings, including the social, team-building ones
Physical and mental health have become two significant topics of conversation in the last two-and-a-half years. Benefits such as mental health days are becoming the norm. While offices are slowly opening up, employees expect these wellness benefits to continue, and job seekers ask for these benefits when they consider a placement.
Money talks and salary increases speak volumes – especially as inflation rises. Workers want to be valued, and one of the most straightforward ways to indicate that is via a fair salary that meets market demand. Companies can no longer lowball salaries in a market that favors employees and expect to hire top temporary talent.
Temp workers are nomadic and more willing to move to the next job that better meets their needs. Staffing companies must be in tune with the market and set their salary or hourly wages accordingly. In like manner, staffing companies need to convey their hands-on knowledge of job seekers’ expectations to their clients to help them achieve their hiring goals by advising on the right salary for the role.
Workers are in control, listen to what they want
A tight labor market has given job seekers the upper hand – all the more reason for clients to depend on your staffing companies’ resources and expertise to fill job positions. The job market may be fiercely competitive but understanding what temp employees want and counseling your client to craft an offer that positions them above other hiring companies is a valued service that will reap rewards for all parties involved.
Temporary workers have a lot of choices – make sure your staffing company understands what your clients want and the needs of today’s workforce. In-depth knowledge of market trends and influences, plus your expertise, will help determine your success rate in closing this gap between what clients want and the labor market’s needs.
eCapital’s roots are deeply grounded in the staffing industry. With decades of experience in temp agency funding, our organization boasts a team of experts having an ear to the ground. With extensive networking connections, our team stays current on evolving trends, the competitive landscape, and developing technologies shaping the industry. Leveraging this knowledge, we deliver more than payroll funding solutions you can count on. We also provide additional expertise to strengthen your position in a competitive market.