What matters most to candidates? Pay, culture, purpose?

What matters most to candidates? Pay, culture, purpose?

Research by LinkedIn has found that the most crucial part of a job advert is the salary range. This may not seem all that surprising. However, research by Glassdoor also shows that candidates are looking for more than just money from their new role.

What do candidates want?

The answer to this question isn’t simple. As the research into this topic has been relatively extensive, it rightly covers different salary bandings. The answers to these questions will largely depend on the role being applied for and the person applying for it. So, it is right to break down the results as much as possible to avoid generalisations.

How should we break down results?

For example, a Millennial executive will likely have different considerations and expectations than a Gen Xer looking to head up a department. For the Millennial, who is looking to get their foot in the door, salary is possibly more important than culture.

Not only do they want to get ahead ASAP, but they may have a hefty student loan on their shoulders and financial goals ahead of them. For example, a millennial looking to get onto the property ladder will likely be more concerned about salary than culture. A small increase to their pay packet could make all the difference.  

As well as this, they may not consider the roles they are applying for to be long term career roles. Rather, they may consider them to be stepping stone roles with the view to gaining the experience they need to attain those higher salaried roles.

According to research, 37% of job seekers say that a company with a track record for promoting from within shows long-term potential. So, to attract and retain millennial talent, clear structures for progression, with training and development opportunities, are inevitably vital.

What about higher earners?  

A Princeton University study shows that “having a higher income increases happiness, but only up to about $75,000 per year.” So, as salaries get higher, the focus on monetary rewards decreases and is replaced with other factors. These factors include culture, leadership opportunities and the desire for “their employers to share their values”.

This sense of shared values comes down to the need for a greater purpose. “When employees have a sense of purpose at work, they feel passionate, innovative, and committed.” As such, research shows that “short-term goals are not enough to motivate employees.”

However, the desire for purpose could also be attributed to the fact that candidates going after higher-paid roles are aware, in this candidate-driven market, that they are in a position to negotiate. So, if the salary presented doesn’t meet their expectations, but the culture does, they may apply with a view to negotiating.

However, this need for purpose does not exclude millennials. So, while there may be more significant driving factors for candidates in the multi-generational workplace, a purpose-driven organisation will always be a top-choice employer.

How do you identify purpose?

Purpose is not the same as business goals or expectations. A recent study from LinkedIn shows that “49% of employees would trade a portion of their salary to continue in their current role with an added sense of purpose.”

So, there’s a difference between what initially drives candidates to apply, and what employees want once they are embedded in an organisation.

This sense of purpose is a possibility for any organisation. It can be seen as the need to have “a positive impact on the lives of others.”

One way it can be achieved is by implementing initiatives that ensure that your business minimises any negative impact of their processes. For example, by reducing any negative impact on the climate. 

However, purpose-driven organisations need to go further than merely reducing harm. To attract and retain the talent they need to thrive, purpose-driven organisations need to actively contribute to making their local community a better place to live. For example, by creating initiatives which provide opportunities and support the local community.

So, which one matters more?

Ultimately, pay, culture and purpose all matter when you culminate all the variables. However, research shows that pay and benefits are the most important aspects of a job advert specifically. So, when it comes to talent attraction, it’s vital to make it clear how much compensation you’re offering straight away.

This goes against many employers’ preference to keep the salary banding hidden. However, research also shows that making the salary banding clear can save recruiters time by filtering out applications from candidates whose expectations are outside of the specified range. This can result in a more refined talent pool and less wasted time.

However, if your culture and organisational purpose are not refined, you may lose out on talent and find that retention rates do not increase. To summarise, the salary banding is most likely the first aspect of a job advert a candidate will pay attention to. However, they may pay more attention to the culture and purpose of an organisation at a later stage in the application process.

So, for initial attraction purposes, salary matters. To guarantee your offers are accepted, refine your culture and organisational purpose to ensure your workplace is somewhere candidate want to invest their time.

Talent mapping: Get ahead of the game

What is talent mapping?

In advance of live vacancies, a recruiter scours the market and identifies the top talent in a field. This process is called talent mapping. Potential candidates are sought out by the recruiter with short, medium and long-term employment goals in mind.

As such, talent mapping ensures that emergency hiring situations don’t leave companies powerless, waiting and hoping for the right candidates to apply. Chances are when a company utilises talent mapping, they have already identified a pool of candidates ready to go straight to interview.

When hiring for a live vacancy, a company will receive applications from candidates actively looking for a new role. However, this leaves a wealth of passive talent unexplored. Businesses can make quality hires by reaching out to those who are right for a position before a vacancy goes live.

This approach, therefore, provides companies with the opportunity to tailor a job role to the right candidate. As part of the process, recruiters can engage candidates to find out what it is they want from their next role. So, when employers are prepared, they can respond to a talent need swiftly and efficiently having already established relationships with suitable candidates.

In this sense, talent mapping can also be used purely for market research purposes. If a business wants to increase employee engagement and retention in the workplace, utilising talent mapping to understand what your competitors are providing can be a powerful tool. This can cover everything from the specifics of a job role and the expectations attached, to salary, benefits and seniority.

How can talent mapping support candidate attraction?

Talent mapping isn’t just about listing names, companies and locations. Rather, talent mapping aims to open up conversations with potential candidates and establish a relationship. By getting directly in contact with a candidate, a company is sending a strong message that they are particularly keen to work with that person. This then enables the business to establish if the candidate is interested in their potential offer and put a follow-up plan in place.

Previously, the market has relied on employers choosing candidates. However, while we are in the middle of a global talent shortage, the power is in the candidates’ hands. This doesn’t mean employers can’t still have a strategy in place to help them reach the best, most relevant talent in the market. However, it means employers need to utilise attraction campaigns and techniques to market their employer brand effectively.

Talent mapping is a hugely valuable asset to talent attraction campaigns. By having a detailed awareness of the market, and their competitors, an employer can ensure that they are continuing to provide the best offering. This can be utilised company-wide, to improve the overall corporate culture and work environment, as well as in attraction campaigns.

So, how does talent mapping work?

Talent mapping often requires companies to question what they want to achieve, and when they want to have achieved it by. As such, it is an essential part of any business which wants to put a successful scaling strategy in place.

Talent mapping creates a reference for the internal talent you have, and the talent you are likely to need. By mapping the company structure, you can then identify the talent gaps you will eventually need to fill. Identifying these gaps means that you can then look externally, if you need to, for the right people to fill those vacancies.

However, it also means that you can invest in training the team members in your company who could eventually fill those roles. Identifying potential in the workplace and investing in career development, in turn, promotes employee engagement and positive company culture.

Putting a strategy in place enables companies to put these plans in place with plenty of time to see them through. As such, talent mapping is not a quick, short term process. Rather, it requires a long-term investment to see the results that will make a difference. So, while planning ahead can be hugely effective, it requires the time investment to make it worthwhile.

How can my company implement a talent mapping strategy?

This is where an agency can prove itself most useful. Even if you don’t already outsource your recruitment processes, talent mapping can require time that your in-house team don’t have.

Alternatively, if you do outsource your recruitment processes, finding an agency which can combine both talent mapping with your day-to-day recruitment can mean that there is more value in the service you are receiving. With an approach that thinks ahead, you are much more likely to make quality hires with a greater chance of job satisfaction and retention.

Talent mapping is a highly flexible, versatile recruitment tool. As a process, it can be used to achieve such a variety of different goals that trying to put it in a box is futile. It is this flexibility that perhaps makes talent mapping a more difficult process to understand.

However, the goal of talent mapping is always to provide an insight into the market and can be undertaken with absolute confidentiality if necessary. It is the use and value of this insight that can then be used in a variety of ways to support your company. As such, talent mapping does much more than simply filling a role, giving your company both short and long-term employment strategies.

Diversity agendas: more than meets the eye

Diversity agendas are less advanced than we thought

Fewer organisations have a formal diversity strategy compared with previous years. That’s the surprise finding from the latest joint CIPD and Hays Resourcing and Talent Planning survey. It seems the problem with workplace diversity agendas runs deeper than initially meets the eye.

For our upcoming white paper, we examined the diversity agendas of the top 20 UK companies by revenue but were unable to identify any company that target employees from disadvantaged backgrounds. From this we concluded that while many employers have committed to making great strides at creating greater opportunities for women and minority groups, they have a real blind spot when it comes to class that leaves their diversity agendas wanting.

The CIPD report, based on feedback from over 1000 HR professionals across the UK, reveals that many organisations don’t even have a formal diversity agenda, let alone an incomplete agenda.

According to the survey,

  • Only just over half of organisations (52%) have a formal diversity strategy
  • The proportion of organisations with a diversity strategy has fallen compared to previous years; 2017: 52%; 2015: 58%; 2013: 58%; 2012: 56%
  • Private sector organisations are even less likely to have a formal strategy (43%)
  • The proportion of organisations monitoring candidate information to improve recruitment of under-represented groups has increased only slightly, as has the proportion advertising vacancies via different sources to attract under-represented groups.
  • Most other methods to attract under-represented groups have decreased compared with 2015. The initiative that has experienced the largest decrease, –13 percentage points, is for attracting talent of all ages.

Diversity agenda
Initiatives adopted to improve diversity in organisations. Source: Resourcing and Talent Planning 2017, CIPD in partnership with Hays

Why it’s in employers’ interests to invest in a formal diversity agenda

The need to focus on diversity more couldn’t be clearer or more pressing. Four fifths of organisations feel the competition for well-qualified talent has increased over the past year with 72% anticipating competition further increasing over the coming years. Three quarters report having recruitment difficulties in the last year. For this reason, organisations need to broaden their potential pool of candidates.

The task ahead

A fundamental expansion of diversity agendas is needed in response to Britain’s deep social mobility problem. Employers need to commit to adding class to the diversity agenda. But for many employers the task is more fundamental – they need to create a formal diversity agenda. For some this will necessitate a fundamental shift in the way they perceive diversity in relation to the employer brand.

They need to appreciate that the diversity agenda is not separate from the overall employer brand, but an integral component of the overall employer brand. The diversity agenda supports the overall employer brand by helping to define what’s expected of employees – that you will treat everyone fairly and equally. In return it is an opportunity to define what employees can expect from you, that you will have full and equal opportunity to demonstrate and fulfil your ability, regardless of your upbringing or appearance. The diversity agenda shapes the give and get of the employment deal.

As the competition for talent becomes greater, the needs for employers to have a clear, compelling and distinctive employee value proposition (EVP) to attract talent.  An organisation’s values are of increasing importance to both candidates and employees, and deserve to be at the heart of the EVP. Notably organisations that have made a conscious effort to improve their employer brand have done so by improving the communication of their values. To do this successfully organisations need to articulate the value they place on promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

Employers need to embed diversity values into their overall employer brand, rather than seeing them as a separate entity. By doing this it will pave the way to a formal diversity agenda, and that will start to improve the access to a broader talent pool.

Want to know more? Our whitepaper on the social mobility problem in the UK is being released later this month. Enter your details below and we’ll send you a free copy on launch day.

The blog is part of our diversity discussion series. For more blogs on diversity click here.

Katharine Newton is Head of Insight at Talent Works International (TWI). TWI is a global talent communications firm that helps organisations around the world build effective and efficient talent strategies through our research, sourcing and creative teams. For more information, contact: Katharine.newton@talent-works.com

The social diversity blind spot

Earlier this year, in a white paper about the UK’s social mobility problem, Talent Works called on employers to address their social diversity ‘blind spot’ and incorporate class in their diversity agendas. Things have taken an interesting turn since then. Last month, the BBC announced that it was considering setting targets regarding the socio-economic class of its workforce. It also announced that it is removing details of university degrees and school education from the CVs of all its potential recruits, in a further effort to improve the class diversity of its workforce. This last measure is already in place at the corporation for entry-level roles such as trainees and apprenticeships.

Then a few days ago Ofcom announced that from now on the BBC will publish information about its workforce every year – information on their gender, sexuality, disability, ethnic background and – social class.

This is undoubtedly an important first step on the road to giving talent from disadvantaged backgrounds equal access to employment in the BBC. It shows that the BBC has recognised there is a problem – a fundamental gap – in their diversity agenda, and sees an opportunity to advance their agenda.

So why is the BBC thinking of setting targets regarding class and why does class diversity matter?

The ‘posh’ BBC

The BBC announced that it may set targets regarding the socio-economic class of its workforce after an internal survey found that the proportion of its workforce with parents who are in or have been in higher managerial positions or professional occupations (considered an accurate indicator of a privileged background) is double the national average. The survey also found that:

  • 17% of BBC staff and 25% of its management team went to private school – significantly above the UK average of 7%
  • 52% of staff had parents with university degrees – also above the average
  • 61% of staff had parents who are in or have been in higher managerial positions or professional occupations

Following the publication of the results, Sharon White, chief executive of Ofcom the media regulator, described the BBC as too focused on middle aged and middle-class people. The issue was “incredibly important” for diversity.

Blind spot

Very much echoing our white paper, James Purnell, BBC director of radio and education, admitted that the BBC already has targets for gender, race, sexuality and disability but not class. “We don’t have targets for socioeconomic but we are thinking about it… We would love to have a target, we would be very happy to do that, it’s just what would be.”

For our white paper, “Why workplace diversity agendas must address employers’ social diversity ‘blind spot’”, Talent Works took the top 20 UK companies by revenue* and analysed their diversity agendas. For each business, the kind of person it strives to attract, develop and retain was identified and also any groups that its diversity agenda explicitly references. We found that most, if not all, seek to provide a more diverse and inclusive workplace in relation to age, gender, sexuality, ethnicity and disability. A number of companies have broadened their approach to diversity by targeting parents, carers and working families. But it was not possible to identify a single company that said it targets employees from disadvantaged or working-class backgrounds.

We concluded that while many employers have committed to and are making great strides at creating greater opportunities for women, ethnic minorities, the disabled and the LGBT community, they have a real blind spot when it comes to class that leaves their diversity agendas wanting.

Why class diversity matters

In another echo of our white paper, Kevin Bakhurst, content and media policy director at Ofcom said that the BBC’s expanded approach to diversity, combined with new rules on original content and spending across the UK, would boost production. “It will make a real change in production and UK-made programmes”, he said. “It will support production across the country and improve the representation of people who don’t feel they are represented properly.

A blind spot when it comes to social class is bad for business, stated our white paper. Failure to embrace talent from economically disadvantaged backgrounds means missing out on a sizeable pool of talent, missing out on high quality candidates, and missing out on candidates with skills and attributes that are increasingly valuable in the workplace.

  • According to the last census, 14.5 percent of all pupils at state primaries are in receipt of free school meals. The corresponding figure for pupils at secondary schools is 13.2 percent. Add to these two figures the number of pupils receiving lunches through the universal infant free school meal programme, and that’s a sizeable future talent pool.
  • Individuals from working class backgrounds learn rules of survival, solidarity and community. Values of solidarity and community make for good team players, and being able to work in a team is, as we know, critical to business success. Teamwork is also more conducive to creativity and innovation.

Not just an agenda for employers

It’s great news that the BBC has started to look at diversity from a socio-economic perspective, and we really hope that other employers will follow in the BBC’s footsteps and take that first vital step towards giving good quality talent from poorer backgrounds full and equal opportunity to fulfil their ability, to contribute and make difference.

But class inequality isn’t just an agenda for employers. We, in the recruitment and talent communications industry, need to think about what we can also do to help employers foster and develop talent from poorer backgrounds. Perhaps we can help employers tailor their onboarding programmes to new hires from working class backgrounds. Perhaps we can help them build relationships with middle and low-ranked universities where there are good numbers of high ability students from poorer homes.

Let’s work together to expand the diversity agenda.

* The top 20 UK companies by revenue and which feature in the Fortune 500, an annual ranking of the top 500 corporations worldwide as measured by revenue

Katharine Newton is Head of Insight at Talent Works International (TWI). TWI is a global talent communications firm that helps organisations around the world build effective and efficient talent strategies through our research, sourcing and creative teams. For more information, contact: Katharine.newton@talent-works.com

How candidates think in 5 statistics

LinkedIn recently conducted their annual talent survey where they asked 14,000 global professionals about their job-seeking attitudes and habits. Some of their findings were quite astounding, we’ve selected our top 5 takeaways from the report:

90% of candidates are open to new job opportunities

Unsure whether to send that message? According to LinkedIn 90% of candidates are open to new job opportunities and what’s more, 63% feel flattered when recruiters reach out to them.

Candidates want to know why they are a good fit more than company specifics

It may seem obvious but if you send a message which is personalised you are a lot more likely to gain a response. 54% of candidates want to know why the job would suit them which is on par with knowing the job title.

Candidates spend 1-2 months gathering information before applying

Changing jobs can be a big deal and therefore most candidates take time to carefully consider their options before taking the plunge. On average candidates spend between 1 – 2 months researching companies before deciding to submit their application.

Your company website is their top destination

When conducting their research, 53% of candidates’ main point of call is the company website.

Ensuring your company website is visually appealing and contains engaging career-focussed content is essential in attracting candidates. But none of that matters if your website isn’t being seen- make sure you’re publishing SEO optimized content so you show up in those all-important google searches.

Social Media plays a key role

Candidates use social media as a way of keeping up to date with companies that they are interested in. 35% of candidates say LinkedIn played a significant role in their recent job change and 49% of candidates follow companies to stay aware of upcoming vacancies.

Is your careers site attracting candidates? Check out our recent blog post on how to make your careers site user friendly.

Net Promoter Score (NPS) – All you need to know

First introduced in 2003, Net Promoter Score (NPS for short) has been a key way for brands to measure their consumer loyalty. Its use seems to know no industry bounds. Businesses as diverse as telecommunications, banking and food retail are all using NPS. So popular is it that an increasing number of organisations, enticed by its simplicity, are now extending its use beyond the consumer arena and using it to measure employee loyalty, by incorporating NPS into their employee engagement surveys.

For those not familiar with NPS, consumers or employees answer a simple question. How likely is it that you would recommend to a friend or colleague on a scale of 0 to 10, with 0 being not at all likely and 10 being extremely likely? Those who answer 9 or 10 are classed as promoters; those who answer 6 or less are classed as detractors. The NPS score is the percentage of promoters minus the percentage of detractors. As simple, straightforward metrics go, you can’t get much simpler than that.

But is NPS ready to play a viable role in companies’ talent attraction and retention strategies?

Many consumer brands have fallen into the trap of treating NPS as just a score: it’s become a number to track over time and a point of comparison with competitors. The reason people are promoters or detractors, although important, is not the focus of interest. But it should be. The value of NPS as a way of measuring employee loyalty depends on employers not making this mistake.

Only when and if employers can “fight the temptation to let it become just a score” (Reichheld and Markey) will NPS be ready to play a viable role in companies’ talent attraction and retention strategies.

NPS, net promoter score

But first the selling points of NPS. Aside from the obvious simplicity of NPS, numerous studies including those conducted by the Harvard Business Review, Satmetrix, and Bain & Company have found that there is a strong correlation between high Net Promoter Scores and revenue. Where companies have used NPS as a measure of consumer loyalty, there has tended to be a corresponding growth in business revenue. Businesses with the highest NPS scores have tended to outgrow competitors by at least two-to-one, and data shows that customers who have come from referrals have tended to be 18% more likely to stay with the business than other customers. The thought that adopting NPS as an employee loyalty metric could have a similarly positive impact on employee retention figures and cost to hire figures is extremely enticing.

NPS also focuses the mind. Companies who adopt NPS as a metric generally become more focused – more focused on increasing the number of promoters and decreasing the number of detractors.

The NPS trap

Unfortunately, NPS does not provide deep insights. In a way, its simplicity is both its strength and its flaw. NPS doesn’t specifically identify the reasons why your employees may be detractors. If you want deep insights you have to add additional questions to the NPS question. It’s the kind of metric that you have to follow up and seek to understand why people would recommend/would not recommend the employer.

Understanding why people would or wouldn’t advocate you as an employer is what’s critical to identifying practical steps to improving employee loyalty. Instead of obsessing about the NPS score itself, employers must obsess on what they learn from the follow-up questions. The temptation to compare with competitors, the industry NPS average or department X versus Y must be avoided.

There are other reasons why the focus ought to shift away from the NPS score and towards the more exploratory questions that accompany the likelihood to recommend question. The NPS score could unwittingly be asked right after a single negative experience and therefore may be skewed by that one recent experience. In other words, an NPS score may not be that accurate a reflection of the overall employee sentiment towards their employer.

Added to this, there’s the age-old problem of people saying they will recommend you and then not actually doing so. NPS is a measure of the desire to recommend but not a measure of the will to recommend – an important distinction to make. And some say only the latter really counts. In order to accurately measure how many customers who say they will recommend you should also be asking an additional question – have you recommended us in the last 12 months?

NPS 2.0

It’s no surprise that Net Promoter Score, once the preserve of consumer brands, is being embraced by ever more employers to measure employee loyalty. You would be hard pressed to find a more simple and straightforward metric. What could be simpler than asking, “How likely would you be to recommend your employer to a friend or family member on a scale of 0 to 10”. With research fatigue a genuine problem we need simple questions like this.

We need an employer-led next generation approach to NPS with a desire to understand why people would or wouldn’t advocate their employer.

Katharine Newton is Head of Insight at Talent Works International (TWI). TWI is a global talent communications firm that helps organisations around the world build effective and efficient talent strategies through our research, sourcing and creative teams.