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What Candidates Want: Korn Ferry Futurestep Survey Highlights Shifting Top Priorities in the Workforce

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 - Five Years Ago, Benefits were Top, Today it’s Culture and Tomorrow it’s Flexibility
 - Study Points to Fiercely Competitive Fight for Talent
 - Most Difficult Job Roles to Fill Vary by Region

Editor’s Note: Full Report and Infographic Available

Los Angeles, Jan. 18, 2017 – A new global study by the Futurestep division of Korn Ferry highlights the intense competition companies are facing to find qualified candidates, and gives insight into the shifting top priorities of those candidates.

In Part One of The Talent Forecast, Futurestep’s global survey of more than 1,100 hiring professionals, 54 percent said it’s harder to find qualified talent compared to just one year ago. The same study found that identifying people with the right skills in a rapidly changing market is the top business issue impacting recruitment. Respondents also cited rapid business growth, millennial expectations and economic uncertainty as key reasons the right talent is difficult to find.

“Candidates with niche and specialized skill sets will become increasingly sought after as 2017 unfolds, and knowing how to gain and hold their attention should be one of the biggest priorities for talent acquisition professionals,” said Jeanne MacDonald, Futurestep global operating executive and president, Talent Acquisition Solutions.

Changing Priorities in the Workforce

Today: Culture
The No. 1 reason candidates choose one job over another today is “company culture,” Futurestep survey respondents said.

“Millennials are absolutely looking for culture and fit. They want to feel good about where they’re working and require a shared sense of purpose,” said MacDonald. “Gen X, on other hand, are more interested in taking their skill set to a place where they can make an impact. Organizations with a culture of acknowledging that impact also have a greater chance of retaining top talent of that generation.”

5 Years Ago: Benefits
When asked what the top reason was candidates chose a company 5 years ago, respondents cited “benefits packages.”

“Five years ago, the world was still reeling from the Great Recession, mass layoffs, and all-around jitters,” said William Sebra, global operating executive, Futurestep. “It only makes sense that candidates felt the need for a stable paycheck plus healthcare and retirement benefits. Today, workers are generally moving beyond basic needs to different priorities.”

5 Years from Now: Flexibility
When asked what would be the No. 1 reason a candidate would choose one job over another five years from now, the highest percentage of respondents chose “flexible working.”

According to MacDonald, a flexible environment – from working remotely to flex hours is becoming common across many industries. In addition, businesses are seeing changes due to the rise of the contingent professional workforce, or “gig economy.”

“Instead of looking for full-time employment, talented, high-demand people will take contingent assignments where they can showcase their unique skills and talents, then complete the project and move to the next gig.”

Seventy-five percent of survey respondents reported that they use a contingent workforce on either a regular or as-needed basis.

The Hardest Roles to Fill Vary Depending on Region

While respondents say that overall it’s harder to find qualified talent than it was just one year ago, the most sought-after candidate roles vary by region:

  • North America: Nearly one quarter (24 percent) of respondents in this region said that information technology (IT) vacancies are most difficult to fill, followed by engineering at 17 percent and operations 14 percent.
  • EMEA: The most difficult role to fill in this region is sales (22 percent), followed by engineering at 18 percent and IT at 14 percent.
  • APAC: In this region, research and development (R &D) and sales tied at 22 percent for being the hardest role to fill, and operations and engineering tied at 13 percent.
  • Latin America: Respondents said the most sought-after candidates are working in IT (23 percent) followed by sales at 17 percent and operations at 12 percent.

“No matter the region or position for which candidates are being sought, the stakes are high,” said Sebra. “Organizations that attract the best talent will be best-positioned to achieve their goals and succeed in today’s challenging and fast-changing business environment.”

About the Study/Report
The Talent Forecast is a three-part global series by Futurestep. It contains survey data from responses garnered during a global survey of more than 1,100 talent acquisition and human resource professionals across various industries. The study was conducted in late 2016.

About Korn Ferry
Korn Ferry is the preeminent global people and organizational advisory firm. We help leaders, organizations and societies succeed by releasing the full power and potential of people. Our nearly 7,000 colleagues deliver services through our Executive Search, Hay Group and Futurestep divisions. Visit kornferry.com for more information.

More information on Futurestep can be found at www.kornferry.com/futurestep.

Media Contact:
Tracy Kurschner
Tracy.Kurschner@KornFerry.com
Tel: +1 (612) 309-3957

 

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