What do candidates prioritise when looking for a new role?

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What do candidates prioritise when looking for a new role?
Liv Shaw

What do candidates prioritise when looking for a new role?

With a new year upon us, we thought we would highlight what current candidates find important when they search for new opportunities.

As the demand for tech candidates continues to rise, focusing on what candidates are looking for during their job search is becoming key. In this blog, we’ll share highlights from our What Tech Candidates Want in 2024 report. Our findings from the report came from the thorough canvassing of our? database to understand candidates’ current job plans and their motivations.

Age and candidate motivations

When thinking about candidates under 25 and candidates over 55, it isn’t immediately obvious what they could possibly have in common when searching for jobs. However, both of these candidate cohorts are struggling to break into the current job market. Although both groups have their advantages in the market, with under 25s being more likely to be familiar with modern technology having grown up with it and over 55s having a wealth of working experience, the 2023 job market doesn’t seem to favour them.

As the cost-of-living crisis continues to affect candidates, research has shown that British workers are more likely to work into their 70s due to financial pressures. Despite a willingness to work, it takes those over the age of 50 twice as long to find new work, with most candidates in long-term unemployment being aged 54-65. Similarly, younger candidates have faced wage slumps due to inflation and a lack of opportunities in the regular job hotspots, such as London. New candidates, such as graduates, don’t appear to have the same levels of experience in the workplace as someone in the same position pre-covid, and this is reflected in the 40.5% drop in graduate vacancies this year.

Younger and older workers also have another trait in common – they’re both highly motivated by salary when applying for new roles. When it comes to applying for a job, 28.6% of under 25s class salary as a key motivator. Likewise, 37.8% of candidates over 55 highlighted salary as the most important thing to them when searching for a new role. Additionally, both age groups did not consider responsibility levels an important factor. This indicates that under 25s and over 55s are more likely to take a job purely based on salary – potentially due to the lack of opportunities in the current market.

Different gender motivators

Men and women differ when it comes to what they consider important on a job specification. 37.1% of female candidates deem flexible working the most crucial factor when applying for a job, with this coming in second for men at 22.9%. Women are actually more likely to work full-time now that hybrid and remote working are standard practice. The age of flexible working has also led to an increase in women in the UK workforce, with a rise to 58.7% - up from 56.5% in 2019. In recent surveys, 40% of women stated that their care responsibilities impacted their tech career choices, with a lack of work-life balance affecting their life significantly.

In contrast to women prioritising flexible working, 44.8% of men consider salary as the most important part of a job specification. Recent data revealed that men are more focused on salary as they believe that this is the mark of a good job, with women typically expecting a lower salary than men, highlighting why women do not primarily focus on salary.

When it comes to the least important priorities for candidates, both genders are closely aligned. Lorien found that learning opportunities and company culture land at the bottom of the priority list for men and women. With regards to a work/life balance, men and women are surprisingly similar too. 14.3% of women consider work/life balance their top priority, and 11.4% of men agree. Work/life balance also comes in as the third most prioritised factor for both genders, with research underlining that men and women currently face similar challenges when it comes to maintaining a work/life balance. 

For the latest research and statistics, read our What Tech Candidates Want report. The report will allow you to learn about what candidates desire when searching for a new role – including salary visibility, new hybrid working stats and what candidates dislike about the recruitment process.

For other Lorien insights and thought leadership pieces, click here.

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