A survey of 10,700 people looking for work found that pay has become the most important factor when looking for work, with a fifth saying it was their main concern.
Recruitment agency Randstad, which carried out the research, said this marked a significant turnaround from four years ago, when 12 per cent cited pay as their top priority, with job security coming up top at 17 per cent. In 2015, 15 per cent mentioned job security as their first concern.
Mark Bull, CEO of Randstad, said: “Those in the workforce recognise that the weather has turned in the jobs market, with pressure on employees dialled down compared to the years following the recession.”
He added that employers were “widely expanding their teams and fighting over a limited supply of new talent, meaning new workers have the power to negotiate on pay”.
Skills shortages and the improving economic outlook has meant salary has become more of a focus for those looking for employment, though the research also indicated that the younger generation cares more about their salary than their older counterparts.
“These money-driven individuals are also often paying back large student loans, meaning the incentive to get a good starting salary is even more powerful,” Bull added.
The study suggested there had been a transformation, as those who joined the workforce in 2012 were dubbed “Generation Perspiration”, with only 11 per cent naming money as their primary concern when finding a job. Those who commenced their career in 2015 said that pay was their top factor, earning them the nickname “Generation Remuneration”.
There was also increased willingness to switch roles in pursuit of a higher salary, with 63 per cent of those employees polled saying that pay was one of the top five factors that would make them consider swapping employers in 2014 – an increase from 51 per cent in 2011.
The survey interviewed unemployed people, students and existing workers who were looking for jobs, though didn’t clarify which industries the jobseekers were looking into.
Bull also warned that workers who “weathered the storms of recession” often have highly-valued experience, but some employers “have been slow to recognise and reward the broader skill-sets they have built up over time”.
Of those who had changed jobs recently, one in three 18-24 year-olds said they left their old place of work as pay was too low, compared to 29 per cent of respondents overall.
“Employers are widely expanding their teams and scrapping over a limited supply of talent, meaning new workers have the power to negotiate on pay,” Bull concluded.
The head of careers and employment engagement at UCAS Media recently spoke to Business Advice about how small businesses can succeed with recruitment in such a competitive environment. Rachel Johnson recommended “early engagement” and establishing connections with local universities to open a line of communication between employer and upcoming job seekers.
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