Data from ManpowerGroup suggests the demographic weight of Baby Boomers and Gen Y is transforming the employment landscape. Both generations of workers are demanding increasingly flexible working arrangements, leaving the in-between generations to carry the load of full-time work.
This finding has emerged from the company's Global Candidate Preferences Survey which asked nearly 14,000 job seekers in 19 countries – including over 700 from Australia – what matters most to them in the job search process. The research revealed that the growing demand for flexibility is having a profound impact on the employment market as candidates increasingly prioritise part-time work, work/life balance and jobs that provide true meaning over traditional employment arrangements. In comparison to their global peers who rate compensation as a key priority, Australians say that flexibility, balance and type of work are their top motivators when making critical career decisions.
This research challenges common misconceptions about employment preferences, particularly part-time employment. Part-time work has grown rapidly over recent decades (from around 10 per cent in the 1960’s to around one-third currently). However, that growth has often been mistaken as something forced upon workers who would really prefer full-time work. The Global Candidate Preferences Survey shows that over 40 per cent of Australians prefer part-time work. This reflects growth in the number of older workers not yet ready to retire but wanting to shift out of full-time work, as well as the priority given to flexibility by Gen Y.
The survey also finds that power has shifted dramatically over the last five years from employer to job seeker as candidates make use of large amounts of information early in the recruitment process to cull companies from their list of preferred employers. This results in employers being denied access to the best talent and wasting money on recruitment strategies that candidates refuse to even consider.
Key findings include:
•Work-life balance is a key issue for job seekers with over 40 per cent of Australians ranking schedule flexibility as a top priority. This signals that lifestyle factors are a core issue for job seekers. Furthermore, this issue is no longer just a priority for women with 40 per cent of Australian men stating flexibility is one of their top 3 motivations, up 12 percentage points in the past year.
•Demand for part-time work is on the rise with 42 per cent of Australians stating this is their preference, one of the highest rates in the world.
•Type of work is the highest ranking concern for Australian’s (68 per cent), indicating that opportunities for learning and advancement along with engaging work are core issues for candidates.
•Company vision and mission are growing concerns for Australian job seekers with 34 per cent of respondents considering this information before submitting an application, compared to just 15 per cent in the prior year – a jump of over 100 per cent.
"There is now a growing pool of job seekers that prioritise part-time work, flexibility and meaningful employment over salary,” explains Jamie Butterworth, general manager, ManpowerGroup Solutions Australia and New Zealand. “This reflects changing demographics where older and younger workers are seeking non-traditional employment arrangements. It means part-time work will continue to rise and employers will need to consider this flexibility when creating the jobs of the future. It also means a smaller proportion of the community will carry the load of full-time work."
Mr Butterworth also believes the data is a powerful signal to employers that they need to recognise the changing balance of power in the workplace and adopt new strategies to attract the best talent. This means understanding the way job seekers use publicly available information to decide which employers they will consider. A failure to adopt the right strategies will not only result in companies losing the talent war, but also wasting large sums of money on ineffective recruitment campaigns.