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2023 Labor Market Preview: What Do Job Seekers Want?

Job Market Analysis: Was it a Job Seekers Market in 2022?

In 2022, the number of job openings continued to outpace the number of available workers, making it a job seekers market. This ongoing candidates’ job market altered the employer-employee relationship and forced companies to start asking the question "what are job seekers looking for?” Many job seekers had plenty of options and could afford to be more selective about where they worked.  

Labor Market Data: What Do Job Seekers Want?

We surveyed over 1000 job seekers at the end of 2022 to better understand what motivates them to accept a new job. The labor market data and job seeker data confirmed some beliefs while providing new insights into what is most important for job seekers as we enter 2023. Here are the five most important motivators according to our labor market research. 

What Are Job Seekers Looking For?

1. Pay

38.9 percent of survey respondents selected pay as the most important factor when deciding to take a new job. With economic uncertainty expected to continue throughout 2023, employers will need to review their compensation strategies to ensure they are keeping pace with the competition. 

2. Job security

Along with inflation and recession, fears of layoffs and job cuts are on the rise. 15.3 percent of those surveyed in our job market research listed job security as the most important factor in their job search. Creating a sense of security can be difficult for employers, but it’s what job seekers are looking for. Job security can’t be easily measured or communicated, but transparency is good way to make your workforce feel more secure. Routine updates about worker and company performance takes some of the mystery out of the workplace and can alleviate some of the worry workers may have. 

3. Opportunities for growth and promotion

The lack of advancement opportunities was recently highlighted by human resources professionals as one of the leading causes of turnover. 11.3 percent of survey respondents in our job market analysis noted it as the most important factor for accepting a new job. Workers are taking the long-term approach to their careers and are becoming less interested in roles without advancement opportunities. Career mapping may become even more important for attracting new workers in 2023 as their desire to advance to new roles intensifies.

4. Opportunities to learn new skills

Professional development — or upskilling — has become a more common retention tactic over the last few years. Employers need workers to take on roles becoming available due to the rise of automation and an expected wave of baby boomer retirements. Workers want a clear path towards attaining new skills so they can advance their careers. 90 percent of survey respondents within our job market analysis say that opportunities to learn new skills is at least somewhat important when looking for a new job. 7.3 percent indicated that learning new skills is most important to them. Meanwhile, only 61 percent of those surveyed within our labor market data agreed that they can access on-the-job training. This is an area where job seekers are looking for more and companies can improve retention by investing more in their workforce.  

5. Employer offers flexible start and/or condensed scheduling

While important, only 5.4 percent of those surveyed in our labor market data selected schedule flexibility as the most important benefit. When working remotely isn’t an option, workers can seek flexible scheduling to improve their work-life balance. Fortunately for employers, new technology is making it easier to offer new hires a more flexible schedule

Thinking Critically About What Job Seekers Are Looking For

While pay is the primary driver for job seekers entering 2023, the other motivators shouldn’t be ignored. Each represents an opportunity for companies to separate themselves from the competition by understanding what job seekers are looking for and doing what they can to address those needs. 

To see further insights, check out our Q4 2022 Job-Seeker Survey.