What Canadian workers really want in a job opportunity

Human Resources professionals say they hear the same thing from applicants at job interviews as from departing employees in exit interviews. When asked why they want the job, or why they’re leaving the job, people tell them, “opportunity for advancement…”

They took the job because it was a chance to grow in their career. They leave the job because they weren’t growing fast enough, or a next-level opportunity came along elsewhere.

This is something for Canadian employers to keep in mind as the unemployment rate hovers around a ten-year low and the competition for skilled workers heats up. Many organizations are already rethinking their talent acquisition strategies.

One of the simplest – and most important – steps to attracting employees to work for your organization is gaining an understanding of what candidates want in an opportunity and which factors sway their decision to accept a job offer. (And those factors vary by the demographic of workers you’re seeking to attract.)

The desire for career advancement is a major concern – especially for younger workers. This was born out by a new survey released today by the recruitment experts at Robert Half. Obviously, money is an issue. People look for chances to boost their income when they can. But what else is important?

The staffing firm asked hundreds of Canadians, “Aside from salary, which one of the following is the most important factor to you when considering a job offer?”

More than one-quarter (26 per cent) of Canadian workers said that vacation time was most important. Career advancement potential came in a close second at (25 per cent), and corporate culture rounded out the top three at 22 per cent.

  • Vacation time/paid time off – 26%
  • Career advancement potential – 25%
  • Corporate culture/work environment – 22%
  • Professional development/training – 10%
  • Work from home options – 7%
  • Other – 11%

Those are the preferences of all candidates combined. However, the breakdown by demographics is revealing. Older workers, those between 35 and 54 years of age are most looking for paid time off in a new job opportunity. They are generally more established in their careers by that point and are concerned with work/life balance and time with family.

Younger workers, however, are much more interested in building their careers. For professionals aged between 18 and 34, career advancement potential (33 per cent) was the most important aspect they look for in a job offer. This was the top concern of only 10 per cent of workers over 55 years of age.

This infographic has the breakdown of responses by demographic.

Click on the image for a larger view.

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