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Are UK workers coming out of lockdown, and searching for meaning?

Are UK workers coming out of lockdown, and searching for meaning?

Are UK workers facing an existential crisis?

Monster recently surveyed over 2,600 people in the UK. In this series of articles, as we are coming out of lockdown, we’ve analysed the results.

We uncover their attitudes to looking for a job, and working from home. How they feel their current employer has handled the crisis, their thoughts on the prospects of the economy and their work motivations. In the context of wider market data, uncovering important implications for companies, recruiters and candidates.

The value of a job can’t be measured by the Pay alone.

There are many indications that we will come out of lockdown into higher unemployment and lower open job volumes. This will change the balance of power in the ‘war for talent’. This does not mean that recruiters jobs will get easier. The core problem will change from hiring against a talent-shortage to finding still-scarce talent in a much bigger pool of candidates. This new landscape has important implications for recruiters, who are coming back to an uncertain market.

“Ever more people today have the means to live, but no meaning to live for”

Viktor E Frankl “Man’s Search for Meaning”

The global pandemic has given many people a chance to pause, to think, to reassess what is important to them. Across every region of the UK over 80% of candidates agreed, or strongly agreed, with the statement

“I want to find more meaningful work”

Companies need to speak to the actual motivations of candidates in the new market.

Monster has been partnering with behavioural scientist Richard Shotton to help understand the non-intrinsic motivations of workers and how companies can adapt to them. In our recent article published in Fleximize he advises –

“Psychological studies suggest that employers may hold a flawed set of assumptions about what genuinely motivates people. Most believe that their employees are driven by extrinsic factors, such as money. But the evidence shows that intrinsic motivations – such as the enjoyment of the role or intellectual appeal of the job – are far more important.”

Pre-pandemic research suggests Employers need to recognise that candidates are more motivated by factors such as A feeling that what they are doing is of value to others or wider society. A sense of contributing within a team. Having more control and autonomy over their role and responsibilities. Having opportunities to learn and to feel challenged. Our research carried out during lockdown show a new factor –

78% of Men and 87.3% of women who responded to the survey said that when thinking about their next job hunt, it was “Important”, or “Very Important” to them, “How a company treated their current workers during the crisis”.

Under half of the respondents were happy with how their current employer has handled the crisis. Even when, or if, the pandemic passes, employers reputations have been made and broken. The language used during the crisis may also have had unintended influence. We’ve labelled workers with the dichotomy of “Essential and “Non Essential”. This may have triggered introspective re-evaluations and harmed people’s feeling of self-worth, especially among furloughed workers. If you were to design a process to try and harm someone’s career confidence, telling them they aren’t required, then giving them several lonely weeks to dwell on it, would be an excellent way to start.

What Does This Mean for Employers and Recruiters?

This “search for meaning” amplifies what was already an established trend. Workers, in particular Gen-Z and Millennials, want to work for companies whose values align with theirs. The issue for companies is how to communicate that in your hiring process.

Employer Branding

Companies will need to communicate better, expressing their values to attract the right talent. Candidates need to see not just “how this job contributes to the company”, but “how you will add value to the lives of others”. Not just ‘this job requires working well as part of a team’ but – “this is how we value and look after our employees and customers.” Not just “We are an equal opportunities employer” but “This is how we actively support and promote diversity, in our workplace and in our communities”

Make your hiring process more meaningful — and effective

As UK workers deal with the ups and downs of the labour market, there is one resource that can keep your business connected with the right candidates when you need them. Connect with Monster today to see how you can post your next job advert for free.