What candidates look for in an employer and how companies can make themselves stand out

In the current jobs market employers have to work hard to attract – and retain – the best employees.

Every company wants to hire the best talent. The best candidates want the best job. The trick for employers is make their offer stand out in a crowded marketplace.

Employers need to ask themselves what candidates look for in an employer. What would YOU look for from a new employer?

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to that question but the basics tend to be pretty much the same.

There are variables, of course, which revolve around the individual and also the socio-economic circumstances at the time.

We’ve just come through three years of a global pandemic, which has caused many to re-evaluate what they want in all aspects of their lives. Then there’s a cost-of-living crisis, double digit inflation and mortgage rate rises along with global uncertainty caused by Russia’s war on Ukraine.

Against that backdrop you might say the obvious answer to what employees are looking for is financial and employment security.

A good salary – one that is fair and right for the role and responsibilities – is essential but it’s not all about money.

People at different stages of their lives have different priorities. Someone in their 20s won’t want the same from their employment as someone in their 50s. Both have much to offer and an employer has to have empathy and tap into these wants and needs.

If you’re Generation Z – born from 1997 onwards – you’ve grown up in a turbulent, changing and disruptive world and you are likely to appreciate more work-life balance.

Millennials – also referred to as Generation Y, those born between 1981 and 1996 – have seen the best of times and the worst of times and the end of the 9-5, rush-hour grind.

People who are approaching the end of their working lives are probably looking for security to guarantee they can afford to retire or, indeed, work longer if necessary to supplement retirement plans.

What’s particularly important for younger people is the culture of a company or organisation.

The want to work for a reputable brand with good values, ethics and social responsibility. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) can really set an employer apart from the rest.

Younger people also want a career path and progression. They want to know they have prospects to grow and develop, so the opportunity for learning is essential.

Work-life balance is also important to candidates at all stages of their lives. A small number of companies are now are moving towards a four-day working week, for example.

Flexibility is key, as is trust. Employees are increasingly seeking flexibility in how they do their jobs – when they work their hours, and where they work from.

While many are returning to the office after the pandemic, others have found hybrid working provides more life balance.

Finally, a good package of benefits could be the deciding factor. A generous pension scheme, family health cover, holiday allowance, gym membership and paid leave for volunteering or charity work are also worth investing in.

In short – stability, employment and financial security, work-life balance and the need to belong are key things that people look for when choosing their next employer.