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Here’s What Job Hunters Are Looking for in 2023

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Today’s fluid job market poses both challenges and opportunities for employers. By understanding workers’ goals and expectations when seeking new jobs, you can take the necessary actions to make your workplace more attractive to job seekers and current employees alike.

Whether dubbed the Great Resignation or the Great Reshuffle, the unprecedented transformation of workers’ attitudes that began with the pandemic continues to ripple through the labor market. Throughout 2022, 4 and 4.5 million people quit their jobs each month—and growing concerns about a possible recession haven’t slowed the trend. Unemployment rates remain at historic lows (3.4% as of January 2023), and 96% of workers say they are looking for a new job in 2023. 

Why Are Americans On The Job Hunt?

Nearly 90% of executives say their company is experiencing higher than normal turnover, but what is causing the attrition? There are four key reasons employees are seeking new jobs in 2023.

Additionally, the The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), created by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, is an independent federal agency that enforces certain federal civil rights laws prohibiting discrimination and harassment. 

Increased Pay 

Higher wages are typically one of the biggest reasons people seek new jobs, and 2023’s job hunters are no different. Due to inflation and a higher cost of living, nearly half (46%) of potential job-switchers say they expect higher pay, according to a survey. Some 90% of respondents in a recent Checkr survey said they would switch jobs in the next 12 months for a pay raise, with the majority looking for a raise of 5-20%. However, 90% said a pay raise at their current job would be enough to persuade them to stay—and 72% said leveraging a job offer to get a raise would or could be their top reason for seeking a job.

If you’re hoping to retain valuable employees—or attract new ones—you may need to raise wages. The odds are good that your competitors are already doing so: Pay increased substantially across all wage levels in 2022, according to a report from Indeed and Glassdoor. As of August 2022, the study reports, searches for jobs paying $20 an hour grew 35.5% year-over-year. 

Of course, getting a raise or a higher-paying full-time job isn’t the only way to keep pace with the rising cost of living. Inflation is pushing a growing number of Americans to seek second jobs, or side hustles. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 7.9 million people were working multiple jobs in January 2023, an increase of half a million year-over-year. Employers in industries where part-time, flexible work is common, such as retail or gig economy, can benefit from this trend. 

Opportunities For Advancement

The desire to learn new skills and advance in their careers is also spurring a job hunt for many workers. Nearly 78% of job seekers in an iCIMS survey say formal training programs are important in their career decisions. (By contrast, just 16% were influenced by nontraditional benefits such as free gym memberships.) 

Lack of advancement opportunities can cause problems for both employees and employers. Among workers who don’t know how to progress in their jobs, 70% report feeling burned out. But iCIMS found 70% of job seekers aren’t sure how to advance in their current jobs, and 42% say it’s difficult to find and apply for internal open positions. 

Today, career progression isn’t always about climbing the ladder. Offering employees opportunities to gain new skills and experiment with new roles can help boost satisfaction. Promoting open positions to current employees and making them easy to apply for jobs gives your team opportunities to advance while expanding your candidate pool. 

Better Benefits

A desire for better benefits is another reason employees are exploring the job market. More than one-third (37%) of job seekers are looking for better benefits and perks, according to a Robert Half poll. The most-desired benefits are health insurance, paid time off, and access to a company-sponsored retirement plan. In the past year, the percentage of job ads touting these benefits has increased across all labor categories.

Job perks are shifting in some interesting ways. The number of tech companies offering free lunches and snacks is declining, according to an analysis of benefits reported on Glassdoor. However, such extras are on the rise in industries like transportation and manufacturing. Because remote work has become such a sought-after option, employers in industries where it isn’t feasible may need to think beyond traditional benefits to attract and retain workers. Commuter benefits, such as paying for parking, public transportation or even reimbursing employees for gas, are also on the rise for in-person industries such as hospitality and restaurants.  

Flexible Work Options

The ability to work remotely or to have greater control over one’s schedule motivates many workers to seek new jobs. Nearly four in 10 (39%) of American workers in Checkr’s survey say they apply only to jobs that offer remote work. Two-thirds say they “would definitely” or “would consider” applying for remote positions, even if the job paid less than a similar job without a remote option.  

Younger employees place more value on the ability to work remotely–94% of Gen Z and 84% of Millennials would not take a job that required full-time, in-person attendance, an Indeed survey found. In addition, 88% of Gen Z and 69% of Millennials say they would quit their job if they were asked to start working in-person full time. 

If you can’t offer remote work, consider offering flexible hours. A Future Forum poll of desk-based workers found that while 80% want the option to work remotely, 94% want flexible schedules. Even if employees can’t control where they work, giving them more say over when they work can help shorten their commutes and make it easier to balance work with personal obligations.

Will Hiring Slow In 2023?

As concerns over a possible recession loom, are companies planning for layoffs, recruiting new employees, or maintaining the status quo in 2023? That depends. Large scale layoffs at media and tech companies have made headlines recently, and greater competition in the job market could dissuade employees in these fields from switching jobs. However, demand for employees remains robust in industries like healthcare, retail, skilled trades, and education, which typically require in-person work. With about 1.7 open roles for each available worker, it remains a job-seeker’s market. 

Despite the potential for more satisfying, better-paying work, some employees simply don’t want to deal with the arduous process of job-hunting. In Checkr’s survey, 62% of workers said they’d rather stay in a job they dislike than deal with the stress of looking for a new job. The three things employees dislike most about the job search are:

  • The total time needed to find, apply for and interview for jobs. On average, a separate study found, Americans spend 4 hours applying for each position.
  • Poor communication from hiring managers. Just 52% are satisfied with how quickly hiring managers respond, while 67% aren’t sure if a hiring manager ever sees their application. 
  • Lack of salary transparency. Although job seekers are reluctant to ask employers about wages outright, 33% said they wouldn’t go to an in-person interview without knowing a job’s wage range. 

If you’re seeking to hire in 2023, sharing salary information in your job ads, making your job application process smooth and seamless, and communicating frequently with candidates along the way can help give your company a competitive advantage. 

Hire Faster With GoodHire

The coming year may bring new challenges when it comes to retaining existing employees, but will also provide opportunities to attract top candidates who are seeking greener pastures. Regardless of your industry, keeping abreast of what employees and job seekers want—and meeting those needs—can help make your company an employer of choice. 

In today’s job market, it’s more important than ever to optimize your hiring process. An outdated background check solution could cost you a qualified candidate if your competition hires faster. GoodHire offers 100+ screening options, with any easy to use platform and automated workflows to save time and effort. Our dashboard provides at-a-glance results and status updates, keeping applicants engaged every step of the way.  

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The resources provided here are for educational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. We advise you to consult your own counsel if you have legal questions related to your specific practices and compliance with applicable laws.

About the Author

author karen axelton

Karen Axelton is a Southern California-based freelance writer specializing in business topics. 

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