In past columns I’ve spent a lot of time examining what employers look for in job applicants. Yet it recently occurred to me that I’ve devoted precious little space to exploring the other side of the coin -- what candidates look for in a job opportunity.
One answer to this question can be found in a survey administered by the Canadian Policy Research Networks (CPRN). The survey was designed to reveal what workers valued most in past jobs, and highlight what they most desired in future employment.
So what do you think would be the average person’s main draw in a new job package? Flexible hours? Security? Company prestige? Or are they just in it for the paycheque?
If you chose the last option, you’re in for a surprise. Rate of pay placed dead last in the results of the CPRN survey. That’s not to say it didn’t rate at all (62% still identified it as an important consideration), but comparatively speaking, respondents were more concerned with other factors. They sought jobs that were interesting, promised a sense of accomplishment, afforded good work-life balance, allowed for personal freedom and flexibility, offered skill development and training options, and provided security and benefits.
The biggest theme among high-rated factors involved the type of people we work with. Unsurprisingly, respondents preferred co-workers who were friendly and helpful, who could communicate effectively, and most importantly, who treated others with respect. This last was the highest-rated consideration, which shows that respect is among the few absolutes when it comes to building effective teams.
So what do these survey results tell the everyday job-seeker? Well, if your aim is a “survival job,” something to cover basic expenses while you work up to bigger and better things, much of this may not apply. But when you’re looking beyond the short term to the broader canvas, these are factors you’ll want to take into account. They are a predictor of how likely you are to stay on a given career path, based on how well it fits with your personality, value system, and life goals.
I’d encourage any curious readers to visit the CPRN website at www.jobquality.ca/indicators/rewards/rew1.shtml to see how closely your own values align with the survey responses. One message to take away is that a job is a contract -- a partnership between you and your employer -- and like any other partnership, it can’t flourish without satisfaction on both sides. The better a specific job matches your own needs and goals, the better the chances you’ll excel at it and stick with it in the long term. And this, even more than landing the job to begin with, is the yardstick of success in today’s job market.
THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK: “If it were considered desirable to destroy a human being, the only thing necessary would be to give his work a character of uselessness.” (Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Russian novelist, 1821 – 1881)