Candidates have their pick of the market right now, so how do you make sure that what your business is bringing to the table knocks spots off your competitors? Before you can pitch that job offer and secure a definitive ‘yes’, you need to know what the job seeker of 2021 is holding out for.

It’s not just about salary anymore, and it certainly isn’t about location. Because in a post-pandemic world, job security and flexible working are clinching many a deal – whilst helping employers to keep hold of their best people. 


How to make an offer your ideal candidate can’t refuse 

What you offer says a lot about your brand, what you value as a company, and whether you prioritise your people over profits. But that offering isn’t limited to perks alone. In fact, according to a recent Randstad report of 6,000 UK candidates, only 6% ranked benefits as an influencing factor in their job search. 

Our survey found that the five factors with the greatest influence on a candidate’s job search are:

  1. An attractive salary 
  2. A healthy work-life balance 
  3. Job security 
  4. Flexible arrangements
  5. A pleasant working atmosphere


And while salary still takes the number one spot, the remaining four largely focus on how a job makes people feel, whether it works around their life, and how it impacts their wellbeing. 

For the first time, flexible working has knocked the importance of job location out of the top five: in fact, a 51% majority said they’d benefit from more flexibility in their working hours. We also found that 24% of people would be reluctant to apply for a job that involved shift hours on a weekend, while almost 10% would definitely not apply.

In the battle for talent then, your best chance of attracting and retaining the right people for your business is to build a package that’s financially competitive, but bolstered by employer empathy around wellbeing and working preferences, complete with a promise of job security.

It’s also worth noting that after the intense pressure of the past 18 months on people’s home lives, savvy employers are choosing to invest in childcare and family benefits.


How to boost employee engagement for better retention 

A candidate-scarce jobs market makes it critical to keep employee engagement levels high; your competitors might have their eye on your best people as we speak – so give them plenty of reasons to remain loyal.

Our survey results suggest that communicating long-term job security and being flexible around working patterns will make the greatest impact, but it’s also about managing expectations, rewarding hard work, and prioritising employee wellbeing.

Only 10% of employees are expecting a bonus this year; no doubt driven by the business impact of Covid. It is however crucial to communicate if a bonus is off the table, as those expecting an end-of-year payout may be left with a bitter taste in their mouths if their expectations haven’t been managed.


Supporting employee wellbeing post-Covid

Our survey also found that of the 23% of respondents that contracted Covid, a third received no support from their employers. Employee wellbeing is big news right now, and if other businesses are doing it better, you could find yourself with a serious retention challenge. 

If you’re expecting people to return to the office, you need to make sure that every possible safety provision is in place; if remote working is your new normal, consider home office expenses to offset some of the costs your employees may incur, and be sure to check in on your teams regularly. 

The pandemic has seen mental health plummet across the board, and a demonstrable investment in employee wellbeing resources will go a long way towards making your teams feel valued and supported.