What Do Candidates Want from Employers Today?

Posted by Templeton on Friday, 10 December 2021

The ‘Great Resignation’, the ‘Great Reshuffle’ or even just a ‘candidate-led market’: each phrase describes the rapid popularity of job hunting in the past few years, but not the reasons behind this change – or how employers can keep existing staff and entice new hires to join them. The challenge of talent attraction and retention will grow even more complex and more urgent in the years to come:

  • Microsoft reports that 41% of workers globally are thinking about handing in their notice in the year ahead – rising to over half of Gen Z individuals
  • Around a third of UK workers are actively looking for a new job, with 1 in 4 planning to accept a new role in the first quarter of 2022 alone
  • 3% of the entire American workforce resigned from their jobs in August 2021 alone, with an even greater number quitting in October 2021
  • Staff turnover is predicted to double and almost triple in some locations.

How to Recruit Candidates in 2022

Templeton’s tech recruitment specialists have 25 years’ experience matching niche skilled candidates to IT and leadership roles – our experienced consultants reveal what top talent will be looking for in a job next year.

5 Things the Best Skilled Professionals Want in a New Job

  1. Flexible Work

Even before 2020, working from home was an increasingly popular option for employees that managers were also finding more acceptable. The enforced mass work from home rulings of governments globally meant even the most rigid employers saw significant benefits, including up to 30% greater productivity, and multiple millions were introduced to the perks of remote work for the first time. Now that they have received the personal and professional benefits of remote options, workers don’t want to lose them:

  • A recent FlexJobs survey found that 58% of UK employees wanted to work at home permanently after the pandemic, and 39% wanted a hybrid working environment
  • One in three US workers recently surveyed would not want to work for an employer that required them to be physically on site, with only 13% of North American employees wanting to work in an office or workplace full time
  • A large majority 64% of people would rather work from home than receive a substantial pay rise (between 10% and 20% of total salary).

Flexibility doesn’t just mean where we work, but also when and how. The ability to start or finish earlier, take breaks at different times and move tasks around personal responsibilities is becoming increasingly linked to worker satisfaction, as work and home life are merging more than ever before. Flexible hours are the top consideration for 88% of people when deciding whether to apply for a vacancy or pursue a career opportunity.

Employers aiming to attract diverse candidates will see the greatest benefits from offering more flexible schedules: half of female professionals say flexibility and remote working are most important when considering a new job. More autonomy over employment times and locations also significantly helps those with disabilities, who can enjoy fewer challenges with commuting and access, and have fewer interruptions to necessary physiotherapy or doctors’ appointments. Flexible schedules can make school journeys, mealtimes and care visits much less stressful for those with children and caring responsibilities, and afford individuals with physical or mental health conditions much more comfortable and beneficial working conditions.

Of course, home working and night shifts don’t work for everyone: many professionals value the ability to socialise in the office and spend time with other colleagues who are based in factories, travel regularly or are stationed on a physical work site. In 2022 hybrid working will become one of the most popular job seeker trends, seeing applicants search for hybrid arrangements on job boards and becoming more likely to apply for roles that mention hybrid working. 66% of employers around the world are already looking into redesigning their workplaces to accommodate hybrid working structures. The long list of companies, from SMEs to large global household brands, who have announced a permanent move to a hybrid model includes:

  • Microsoft
  • BP
  • Asda
  • Ford
  • UBS
  • Stellantis (Fiat Chrysler)
  • Target
  • Uber.

As more companies large and small accept flexibility as the norm, organisations will need to offer this once-regarded ‘benefit’ as a standard feature of job opportunities to engage the attention of skilled candidates.

  1. Autonomy

Although remote and flexible options are the most in demand job considerations in 2022, applicants are also wanting greater control over their flexible schedules. Rather than a culture where organisations allocate certain days of the week or timings between office and home working, over 6 in 10 employees want the autonomy to set for themselves the dates and times they come into the office, and want to work from home when they need and choose to. The desired flexibility of 2022’s candidate market is conditional upon their ability to exercise this flexibility inside their own control to best suit their needs.

5 Things the Best Skilled Professionals Want in a New Job

In addition to flexibility, job applicants are also becoming more selective in favour of roles where they believe they can enjoy greater independence and control over their careers and daily activities. Lead Data Scientist at Glassdoor Daniel Zhao believes that growing difficulties in finding talent mean 2022 will be defined by unprecedented employee power. Zhao predicts that the most successful employers in the coming year will be those that ‘embrace the opportunities to rethink old ways of hiring, employee engagement, and how business is done.’

The preference for autonomy will also see changes in the relationship between employers and employees, and alter the very make-up of different job responsibilities. Part-time roles will become increasingly popular with working parents and carers, and will provide the accessibility needed by individuals returning to work after an absence or who are also wanting to pursue further education/skill development or their own business on the side. Covid-19 saw a large increase in the volume of workers who had developed their own ‘side hustle’ in addition to their main employment.

Despite the impacts of recent tax legislation across Europe, 70% of people who currently work in freelance and self-employed roles want to keep doing so throughout 2022. In the coming year, more employees will take their new-found autonomy to the next level and become completely self-employed. Contracting jobs will afford millions the work/life balance, flexibility and total control over finances, career growth and professional life that they crave in 2022. Shrinking niche talent pools and difficulty attracting talent will see organisational attitudes towards contractors and freelancers become ever more positive, providing fully autonomous opportunities for many.

  1. Career Development

The mass redundancies, furlough schemes and increased workloads absorbed by remaining staff meant a reduction in career development for many during the pandemic. Training and development budgets were slashed to maintain business continuity and millions were fully occupied with holding down a job, balancing childcare, supporting affected loved ones or battling mental health challenges. Half of all European workers aged 18–34 believe that their opportunities to gain new responsibilities and skills were reduced in 2020, and in 2022 they want to make up for this lost time and growth.

Many of the most in-demand skills for 2022 include tech capabilities such as data analytics, web development and UX/UI design, combined with softer skills such as communication, negotiation and leadership. Employees will be eager to upskill in these areas to meet demand of potential employers in the near or long-term future, however businesses can use the desire for career development to their advantage. Whilst potential new roles could offer exciting prospects for an individual, a phenomenal 93% of workers would be persuaded to stay in their current role if it offered better career prospects. Employees of organisations with high promotion rates and transparent progression internally have almost double the tenure of organisations without good internal mobility.

LinkedIn predicts that due to recent surges in searches for courses and accreditations, professionals’ skills must expand by about 40% in the coming years, and that by 2025 professionals will need to learn an average of three more new skills to keep pace with advancing technology and changing job requirements. With almost 1 in 10 employees actively seeking to gain a new Academic qualification in 2022, employers can best support their staff by offering to part-subsidise education costs and providing study leave to help employees harness new skills.

What Do Candidates Want from Employers in 2022?

  1. Compensation – Pay Rises

Talent pools are increasingly expecting to see salary and benefits packages clearly and fully listed on job adverts – and in 2022, will be more likely to completely reject adverts that don’t offer this information straight away. The job adverts that receive the highest volumes of quality applications in the year ahead will be those that display a salary, offer a competitive rate with generous benefits, and state that they are open to salary and overall package negotiation. Employers of the near future will have only seconds to grab the attention of their future workforce amongst thousands of competitor advertisements, meaning the financial offering must be as transparent and enticing as possible.

Without other differentiators, large brand names in many areas of Europe, North America and Asia are fighting an ever-growing price war to secure tech talent. Software Developers, Data Engineers, R&D Specialists and tech team managers can expect pay rises of as much as 10%-30% in 2022 as competition for talent heats up.

  1. Specific Benefits and Offerings Tailored to Local Need

The past two years have seen cultural and geographical differences highlighted, and in some areas, narrowed or widened when compared to neighbouring countries and other continents. Many of the differences are due to the average working cultures practiced by each country pre-2020 and the extent of workplace changes in response to the pandemic. For example, some countries that embraced remote work pre-Covid have seen less growth in this area – not because local candidates don’t value this option, but because higher levels of remote work already existed or in 2021 have been accepted as more of a norm than an incentive or reward.

How to Attract the Best Employees

The top three most important factors when seeking a new employment opportunity were selected, with the most important item first, by job seekers across the following locations:


  • UK – Good work-life balance, excellent compensation and benefits, inspiring colleagues and culture
  • Germany – Work/life balance; pay/salary and benefits; flexible work models
  • Netherlands – Good work/life balance, challenging work, inspiring colleagues and culture

North & South America

  • USA – Compensation and benefits; work/life balance; open and effective management
  • Brazil – Balance between personal and professional life; salary and benefits; encouraging culture
  • Mexico – Balance between personal and professional life; salary and reward; job security


  • South East Asia – Salary and benefits; work/life balance; job security
  • India – Work/life balance; salary and benefits; job security


  • Australia & New Zealand – Balance between personal and professional life; pay and benefits; company culture.

The Covid-19 pandemic has also seen other areas of candidate interest skyrocket when compared to the beginning of 2020. The top three fastest-growing priorities when assessing a potential employment opportunity, with the most important item first, were selected by job seekers across the following locations:


  • UK – Inclusive workplace filled with people of diverse backgrounds; flexible working; open and effective management
  • Germany – Good internal promotion opportunities; balance between work and home; remote working models
  • Netherlands – An impressive company mission; an inclusive workplace for people of different backgrounds; autonomy over tasks and priorities

North & South America

  • USA – Flexible work arrangements; workplace inclusion; work/life balance
  • Brazil – Convenient commutes; opportunities for rapid career growth; encouraging colleagues and positive environment
  • Mexico – Flexible conditions; employee decision-making around tasks and priorities; ease and convenience of commute


  • South East Asia – Employee autonomy; flexibility; convenience in commuting
  • India – Work/life balance; colleagues and culture; job security



  • Australia & New Zealand – Employee training; competent, skilled and collaborative colleagues; salary.

Covid-19 has accelerated location-specific differences in attitudes to pay, benefits, working environment and candidate perceptions of the ideal career path. Organisations that tailor their offering, not only to candidate locations but also to diverse groups, career aspirations and individual preferences by involving their potential staff members in the discussion will attract the best talent in 2022.

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Topics: Management & Thought Leadership