Why job Security is More Important than Salary

New research by global workplace supplier Regus has revealed that a staggering 77 per cent of employees would choose one job over another if it enabled them to access opportunities for flexible work.

New research shows Australians value security over salary

In 2011 25 per cent of job seekers identified salary as the ultimate determinant in the attractiveness of a prospective employer.

In 2012 this situation has completely changed with 26 per cent rating long term job security as the most important factor. Coming in second was a company’s financial health at 19 per cent, while only 11 per cent cited salary as the most important variable.

The research, conducted by specialist recruitment company Randstad, surveyed 7000 Australians in the country’s largest 150 companies (by employee size) about the most important factor influencing their decision to work for a company.

Randstad CEO, Fred van der Tang says the research is a sign that uncertain economic conditions are having an effect on the labour market in Australian and around the world.

“When we conducted the same research in 2011, 25 per cent of jobseekers told us salary was the ultimate determinant in the attractiveness of an employer, with only 11 per cent electing long-term job security. This year, we have seen a complete reversal,” Mr van der Tang said.

“It’s remarkable to see such a huge shift in jobseekers’ priorities, but when you take the prevailing economic conditions into account, it makes sense.

“In early 2011, we were emerging from the GFC and there were green shoots emerging everywhere. Business and consumer confidence was strengthening, employees were on the move, and there was pressure on salaries. Clearly, jobseekers were more concerned with better pay than ensuring they have a secure job.”

“A lot has happened in the last year. We’ve had the threat of a double dip recession, the collapse of the US economy, the Eurozone crisis, and slowing growth in China. When you combine this with the recent spate of highly publicised large-scale redundancies at some of Australia’s largest employers, it doesn’t paint a very positive picture for jobseekers.

“This year, we’ve seen the pendulum swing back towards employers, which has somewhat eased salary pressure and forced jobseekers to be more conservative in their remuneration expectations.”

But Mr van der Tang says the nature of Australia’s patchwork economy means jobseekers’ priorities vary from industry to industry. People who work in the travel, leisure, hospitality, IT and telecommunications industry are less concerned about job security, while those who work in the automotive and retail sector are less concerned about salary and benefits.

“It’s no surprise that salaries are less of a priority for those seeking to work in retail and automotive, especially considering the struggles these particular industries have faced recently,” Mr van der Tang said.

“Likewise, it’s natural that people seeking to work in the automotive, industrial and manufacturing sectors are most concerned with the company’s financial health.”

Gender Differences

The research also found that there are major differences between what men and women look for in a future employer and what is likely to encourage them to accept a job.

Men are more likely to seek out employers that offer long-term job security, strong management, career progression opportunities and financial stability, while women are more likely to seek out employers that offer flexible working arrangements, a diverse workforce, pleasant working conditions and offer better work life balance.

Men in favour: Women in favour:
Financial health Diversity
Career progression opportunities Flexible working arrangements
Strong management/leadership environment Strong workplace culture
Competitive salary and employee benefits Convenient location
Long term job security Pleasant working atmosphere

Mr van der Tang said that while it is difficult to tailor talent attraction strategies on a case-by-case basis, employers seeking a competitive edge in the labour market can gain an advantage by paying attention to these factors.

“Knowing what jobseekers want is a complex business. There are so many variants; economic conditions, gender, age, life stage to name a few. It even varies from sector to sector,” Mr van der Tang said.

Mr van der Tang also encourages employers to be aware of the different employment requirements of men and women and to apply this knowledge through the entire talent management and recruitment process.

“Having a clear understanding of the make-up of your current and potential workforce will help you build a strong employer brand which will contribute to overall growth and success,” adds van der Tang.

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This Better Workplace Bulletin was First Published in July 2012