Just as employers are finding it easier than in the past to get information about job applicants, job seekers have more information than ever about the company and the position they are applying for at relatively early stages of the job search process, according to the results of a global study of the strategies used by job candidates conducted by recruitment process outsourcing provider ManpowerGroup Solutions.

The study’s findings, released on April 26, are based on the findings of a global survey of nearly 14,000 job seekers in 19 countries. The study reported that there has recently been a shift in the balance of power from employer to candidate, as job seekers are increasingly collecting detailed information about the position they are applying for before making a career decision, including information about compensation, benefits, company mission/vision and culture, corporate brand, and corporate social responsibility.

The survey results indicated that the factors the prospective candidates are particularly interested in knowing more about when applying for a position are the compensation and the type of work, followed by schedule flexibility. When asked to rank the factors they consider most essential, job seekers in the U.S. were most likely to cite compensation (55%), followed closely by the type of work and benefits (both 51%), and schedule flexibility (45%). U.S. candidates expressed somewhat less interest in opportunities for advancement (35%), the geographic location (31%), and the company’s brand or reputation (14%).

However, researchers noted that in previous research on candidate preferences, 58% of global candidates surveyed stated that company brand is more important to them now than it was five years ago, and that this was especially true among younger millennial and Gen Y candidates (ages 18-35). The survey found that 28% of candidates globally and 27% of candidates in the U.S. reported having information about an employer’s brand pre-application.

The study also revealed that 44% of the candidates polled globally said they have been able to get the compensation details of a position prior to applying, and that in the five countries with year-over-year data, this percentage had increased by more than 10% between 2015 and 2016. For example, 45% of the U.S. job candidates surveyed in 2016 said they had information about the compensation range for a job before applying, up from 31% in 2015. The survey also showed that 41% of job candidates globally, and 42% of job candidates in the U.S., have obtained information about the benefits offered by a prospective employer prior to applying for a job.

In light of these findings, the study’s authors recommended that companies take action to ensure that they can attract the best candidates, including recognizing the importance of the content on their website and the potential of their HR portals to build their employer brand and provide candidates with access to the information they are seeking.

From Benefit Trends Newsletter, Volume 60, Issue 6

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