Each year, Scouted helps thousands of candidates find their dream jobs. To ensure our candidates’ success and happiness, we match them with employers who share their values. We know what’s important to our clients in their job searches, and we find employers who meet our candidates’ expectations. So, what are those values and expectations? We dug deep and found out.
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According to a June 2018 study published by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Americans spend more time at work and less time on leisure and personal care (a category that—get this—includes eating and sleeping) than workers in most other OECD member countries. In fact, of the 38 countries examined by the OECD, only eight scored more poorly than the United States in terms of work-life balance.
Given these workaholic tendencies—which often go hand in hand with anxiety and professional burnout—it likely comes as no surprise that young job seekers (including those we work with at Scouted) are looking to buck the trend. In a 2014 study of 1,816 engineers, 91 percent of respondents reported that “work/life balance was very important or somewhat important when considering a new job offer—edging out compensation as the highest-rated factor.” And, based on our own study of millennials entering the workforce—the results which we’ve published in our ebook, Where Do Young Professionals Actually Want to Work—we found that young job candidates of various backgrounds, including both engineers and business students, rank work-life balance as their number-one career goal.
As millennial job seekers progress along their career trajectories and also begin to build their families, the pressure to find a happy medium between work and family responsibilities only increases. A 2015 Ernst & Young survey found that millennial parents in the United States who are managers named “finding time for me” as their most common challenge, followed by “getting enough sleep” and “managing personal and professional life.” The same study reported that among the top 10 reasons millennials quit full-time positions are “excessive overtime hours,” “flexibility stigma” (real or perceived penalization for working flex hours or taking leave), and “a lack of workplace flexibility, including the option to telecommute.” Ultimately, millennials are “more likely to have made, or be willing to make, sacrifices to manage work and family/personal responsibilities” than workers of other generations, and they “appear to value increased flexibility and paid parental leave more than other generations.”
Scouted’s research shows that young professionals today are increasingly interested in working at smaller companies and startups, reflecting their reported desire for “a creative and dynamic work environment,” which engineers and business students ranked as number one and number two, respectively, in terms of their career preferences. This suggests that job seekers are looking for employers who value flexibility, think outside the box, and are respectful of their workers as people, not just employees.
Employers can help their employees sustain their work-life balance in a number of ways in addition to providing opportunities for flexible work hours and telecommuting. Company features like on-site or subsidized child care, subsidized rent or local home-buyer incentives, modified leave accrual formulas that reward periods of intense work, in-house gyms or discounted gym memberships, paid sabbaticals geared toward personal growth experiences, and a workplace culture that encourages vacation time and parental leave can also support a healthy work-life balance among employees, reduce turnover, and help attract new employees as well.
For more detailed information about what young candidates want from their future jobs, check out our ebook.