Employer Branding

8 Things Employees Care About in 2017

When courting an elite candidate, it is imperative not only to understand what other companies may be offering in terms of benefits, but how the benefits you are offering are applicable to the individual who is being considered.

A recent study by LendingTree allows recruiters some statistical evidence broken down by gender and age. It points precisely to the pressure and leverage points that are most likely to impress an applicant of a specific demographic.

In fact, it might be possible to offer lower initial salaries than competitors and still be able to recruit top talent, if also considering benefits packages from a smarter angle. To do this properly, however, it means an analysis of what benefits will glean the best results in negotiation.

1. How much does benefits affect job acceptance rates?

The statistics demonstrate that as many as a third of applicants consider benefits a “deal breaking” item and have turned down offers due to an unsatisfactory package. It is useful to know that men are around 5% more likely to break off negotiations due to what they see as a sub-par benefits offer.

2.Where are the best pressure points?

Across demographics the most important elements that affect consideration of benefits are improved health insurance packages and 401(k) matching. When entering negotiation it is possible to take advantage of current unrest in the healthcare market. Offers that include family insurance, for example, might be a stronger consideration than they would be in another climate.

3. Do not ignore the gender gap in 401(k) vs. health insurance

It is crucial to note that there is a relatively significant difference in the way different genders reacted to what they felt was the most important benefit when weighing 401(k) matching and health insurance. It has been shown that women place greater emphasis on immediate financial concerns while men are more focused on retirement. If entering negotiation, you may want to choose one over the other based on the gender of the applicant.

4. Age demographic matters when considering an offer of improved health insurance

The desirability of offers that include expanded health insurance coverage can also be predicated on age. The study seems to indicate that those with young families or closer to retirement are most swayed by the promise of greater insurance benefits.

5. Offering a reduced salary for improved retirement security

Over a third of employees say that they would take a pay cut if it meant a 2% increase in 401(k) matching. With this in mind, if an applicant is seeking a slightly higher salary, it might be advantageous to see if offering a 2% raise in 401(k) matching will be an option with a positive outcome, before looking toward salary negotiation.

6. Rethinking your approach to paid time off

PTO may not be a negotiable point at your company, but perhaps you should make efforts to have it become one. The simple ability to offer slightly more PTO days to an applicant may make a more significant difference than a bump in salary. PTO gives people more flexibility and is shown to benefit productivity. Keep in mind that often PTO often goes unused and you may be able to leverage this offer in return for salary. A high percentage of employees in the study would forego $1000 or more. Recently some companies have gone so far as to offer unlimited vacation with the results being very intriguing. One attribute to consider about this unusually interesting benefit is that companies that employ this option no longer suffer any vacation day liability.

7. Giving up on the 9 to 5

Another recent hiring trend involves looking at flexibility when it comes to weekly scheduling. In the global economy, and with employees more likely to be connected to work via smart phones 24/7,  it is seemingly less necessary to enforce a strict 9 to 5 lifestyle. In fact, a less structured schedule is seen as a significant benefit for an employee and usually offers little to no disadvantage to the company. 

8. Age demographics and flexible scheduling

However, it is important to take age demographics into account, once again, when looking at a secondary benefit like flexible hours. It might seem counter-intuitive, because the initiative is a relatively modern phenomenon, however it is not the youngest, millennial-age demographic that is most motivated by flexible work hours. Statistics of those who desire flexible work seem to skew to those who are quite a bit older. When wooing younger talent, considerations like gym memberships and free lunches appear to be more persuasive.

In order to go into negotiations with the best leverage, always consider what role improved benefits may have. Think about the age and gender of the individual when analyzing these factors. Put yourself in their shoes and realize that work life balance is crucial, but people view this idea differently based on who they are. Ultimately the sum of a person may be more important to consider than simply what sum to offer.

About the Author: Sarah Archer is a Content Marketing Specialist based in San Diego. With a background in public relations and passion for SEO, she specializes in developing and promoting content that drives growth for her clients.

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