Why Candidates Take up New Jobs

This is a subject of discussion that holds benefits for both sides of the hiring fence, attraction and retention. It is fundamentally important for us to have a deep understanding of what will attract people into a company as it also tells us what will retain people. Whilst obviously not exclusive to digital, as experts in this field and as it exists as a rare talent base, it was a focus of our research.

At Xpand we recently conducted a 3 month survey to all our contacts that addresses this very question. Interestingly the results were as follows:

  • More senior/challenging role – 47%
  • Better working environment – 35%
  • Better salary – 12%
  • Chance to work for a better know company – 6%

These results are refreshing and should hopefully give faith to managers and employees alike that the focus must always be on the role, development and environment. It also backs up our previous article that counter offers are not productive. Throwing money at the solution is a band-aid and benefits neither party in the long term. Also, even in countries where money is currently more desirable, it is not eternally sustainable – at some point cost margins will outgrow the rate of desired profit margin.

The biggest motivation to move, with nearly half all respondents’ vote, was the opportunity for a more senior role, with candidates also citing other similar reasons such as “opportunity to make a bigger contribution” and “opportunity for growth in expertise”. This poses two challenges for employers. Firstly it raises the problem of how to retain employees, so they don’t feel the need to move elsewhere to develop their careers; and secondly how to attract talent to new openings within the company.

In this regard, to retain talented staff, as an employer you need to think about regularly promoting internally, and providing opportunities for training and development. This is especially important in the current market, where economic recovery and the start of the new year has meant an increase of movement in the job market, as candidates start re-evaluating their current situation.

Similarly if you are an employer looking to attract talent, you need to think about creating challenging roles with opportunity for development. To attract good candidates, candidates will need to see your vacancy as a step up from where they are at right now. If candidates already tick all the boxes for your role, and don’t get a chance to gain new skills and responsibilities, they may start looking to move on again very quickly.  Perhaps try taking a candidate with only 80% of the hard skills/experiences you are ideally looking for, so that the role will challenge them.  This is definitely not a recommendation to take on under-capabable new hires, but if they have the core soft skills and attributes needed, offering candidates a chance to rise to a challenge can reap huge benefits in engagement and retention, demonstrating to candidates from the very start that you are thinking about how they can progress their career with you. This is particularly helpful when dealing with a scarce talent pool such as digital

The second biggest motivation to make a career move was a better working environment. It is interesting to note that the above two reasons make up over 80% of the vote! A better salary or the chance to work for a well known company appears to motivate candidates less than the lure of a better working environment, at any company, whether they are well known or not. Especially where wage differentials may be small, greater flexibility at work and extra benefits are excellent ways for employers to position themselves above their competitors in attracting and retaining the right candidates. Considering the high costs of recruiting, hiring and training a newly hired candidate, providing a superior working environment not only allows companies to have consistency in their workforce but removes the added cultural and financial strains of regular turnover. In fact, replacing one experienced employee who earns $60,000 a year can cost a company twice that amount in replacement costs.

Engagement is the hot topic for this year but I caution any ‘casual’ approach to this field as employees see through it.

One way in which Xpand is offering a better working environment to its own employees is by operating a ROWE – Results Only Work Environment. To find out more about ROWE or any ideas and concepts in this article please feel free to Robert Fanshawe (MD, Asia) for a confidential discussion


About Rob Fanshawe

Currently MD, Asia for Xpand Group, living in Singapore with his wife and dog (golden retriever), his passion in life is simple, “people”. He loves everything to do with meeting and understanding them to helping them and businesses realise their potential through the resulting positive connections.

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