candidate puzzleGlobalization, the arrival of generation Y, new social technologies, economic slowdown, mass redundancies, high levels of job instability are several of the key forces that are sending ripples through the candidate market – causing it to change dramatically in terms of its attitudes and preferences.

And in order to engage with this talent in this constantly evolving candidate market-place, employers must be tuned into the modern candidate market – and understand the key characteristics of the contemporary candidate market. Knowing this, they can adapt their talent attraction strategies to suit. The employers who can best do this will be supremely poised to exploit the 2013 candidate market.

Below, I have set out 4 key features of today’s candidate marketplace, (the second 4 key features of the candidate market will follow in a second installment shortly.)

1. Ambitious and Career Agile

A recent Randstad employment survey reveals that, 86% of people who voluntarily leave jobs, do so, primarily as there is a lack of career development potential. Add to that the findings from the Career Engagement Group which shows that 31% of employers are ready to accelerate their careers and 3 out of 4 employees are ready to engage in self-directed learning in their own time in order to enhance their careers. This increasingly self determining, career committed attitude has been termed Career Agility. If you want to seduce the modern career agile job seekers you need to build and market your organization as one that embraces learning and career progression.

2. Everybody loves flexible working 

Studies from PwC and CareerBuilder show that flexible working has now worked its way up to the top of the list in terms of benefits desired by workers, second only to pay and rock hard benefits like pensions/401K. There is no doubt that pretty much everybody loves flexible working and this is largely driven by the average candidate becoming more life style conscious, self determining and focused on work-life balance. As well as this gender equality and financial necessity are driving both parents out to work, (Dual parent working has not reached unprecedented levels) creating greater demand for flexible working. A top way to seduce the modern job seeker is to offer flexible working or at least a flexible and open attitude to flexible working in your business.

3. Much of the talent is self employed 

Studies have shown that there has been an increase in self employed working over the past few years. A study by Intuit suggests that up to 40% of the US work-force may be self employed by 2020. Now, admittedly, much of this self employment has been recession driven, that is, employers are making more use of contingent workers, meaning there are less employment opportunities. But, there is an increasingly entrepreneurial sentiment amongst workers, looking to take control in an unstable labor market by building their own more stable self employed career. Many just prefer the lifestyle flexibility granted by self employment. And so if you want to engage with the cream of the talent market, do consider engaging self employed workers for some of your most hard to fill positions.

4. Candidates want to connect with you via mobile

A study by SimplyHired (which was shown in HC Online), has revealed that 7 out of 10 job seekers currently use mobile devices for job search, and a massive 86% would apply for jobs using their mobile if it were easy to do. Is your talent attraction process still single screen, desktop dependent? If you really want to engage with the modern job seeker you need to be offering a dual screen hiring process which makes it easy for job seekers to research and apply for jobs from desk top and mobile devices.

Please look out for the second part of this article which will appear shortly and which will set out another four key features of the 2013 candidate market.

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