Recruiting in 2023: What are job seekers looking for?

What do job seekers want?

The British approach to a working week is changing, mainly due to the pandemic. It has caused a change in what job seekers are looking for, with many of us working from home or being on furlough during 2020 – 2021, it gave people a new perspective on work-life balance, driving changes in how people want to work in a post pandemic world.


According to StandOut CV, 47% of UK employees analyse a job application based on the work-life balance that it offers, with research from Hays finding that 30% of professional workers place a high priority on work-life balance when considering whether to accept a job.


In a recent survey by Deloitte, they found that 51% of Gen Z’s and 52% of millennials are living paycheck to paycheck in the current cost of living crisis. They also found that 46% of Gen Z’s and 38% of Millennials have taken on a part or full time job alongside their primary job, with the main driving factor being needing a secondary source of income. With the current struggles of the cost of living, more people are now seeking better benefit packages to counteract with the struggles of their salary.

1. Hybrid or remote working

The term “remote jobs” in now searched for over 18,000 times per month in the UK on Google – an increase of 410% over the last 5 years

(StandOut CV, July 2023)

44% of UK British people work from home, either hybrid or fully remote. We have personally seen a huge increase in job seekers contacting us looking for remote working jobs. 

Remote working jobs were a good option for many companies during the pandemic, as it enabled them to keep their business running. Remote working then became hugely popular for many people as less travel time to and from work enabled them to save on travel and petrol costs as well as benefiting from a better work life balance. 

Despite this, during 2023 there has been a huge increase in businesses requesting that their work from home staff return to working in the office. This is causing a stir with many working from home staff as they have adapted to a working from home life.

There are a number of reasons businesses are choosing to reduce working from home, including:

  • Some workers have stated that they feel they are more productive working from home, however from a businesses perspective it is a lot harder to assess someone’s work ethic and production output while they are working from home

  • Working from home can also cause isolation and a lack of teamwork. A social working environment helps with creativity and brainstorming, which companies feel they are lacking through home working
  • According to the Telegraph, in recent studies, it has been found that Britons are admitting to taking naps, doing DIY and having ‘private time’ with their partners on work time when working from home, causing some companies to lose trust in working from home arrangements


To keep both parties happier, many companies have introduced a hybrid working model, with 1 in 4 UK workers now working a hybrid work week (Standout CV, July 2023). 

2. Flexible working

An estimated 4 million UK employees have changed careers due to a lack of flexibility at work, and an estimated 2 million have left a job in the past year for the same reason (Source: CPID, May 2023)

A study conducted of 2,000 people found that 7 in 10 Brits are unhappy with their work-life balance. Jobsite (Jan, 2023), found in a study of 4,364 UK workers, that beyond a higher salary over a quarter of them would be encouraged to stay in their current role if their employer offered a better work-life balance.


If hybrid or remote working is not a option that is suited to your business/sector, here are some other options to consider:

1. Flexible start/finish times

If it is possible, there is the option to be more flexible with start and finish times, enabling people to fit appointments around working times easier.

2. Flexi Time

Is there the option to offer flexi time? For example, if someone’s role required them to attend meetings or events outside of their core working hours, could they take time back in lieu? 

3. 4 Day Working Week

During June to December 2022, 70 companies took part in the UK pilot programme of a 4 day working week, to which 95% of the companies surveyed said that productivity had either stayed the same or improved (Source: The Guardian). 

A 4 day working week helps to improve the work-life balance of employees, while also rewarding employers with increased or no loss in productivity, the same amount of work done in fewer hours, increased employee wellbeing, increased staff retention and a reduction in employer costs. 

4. Job Sharing

Do you have any roles available that could be offered as a job share? This way it gives the option for 2 or more people to work less more flexible hours, while still keeping your vacancy filled.

5. 4 on 4 off shifts

Could you offer a 4 on 4 off working shift pattern? This enables workers to have 4 days off together, therefore giving them a better work-life balance. 

3. Salary transparency

“66% of candidates are more likely to apply for a job if the salary information is on a job board” (Source: StandOut CV, March 2023)

Jobsite reports a 25%-35% drop in candidates on a job role when the salary is not listed, CV Library found that 81.6% of people view the salary as the most important factor when looking for a new role (Source:

Money is the number one reason why people go to work, because we need to earn our living. Jobsite (Jan, 2023), found in a study of 4,364 UK workers, that 74% of those workers are worried about their current financial situation and 57% of those 4,364 were actively seeking a role with a higher salary. So, when looking for jobs it’s understandable that the most crucial factor people are looking for is how much they would earn in this role, because people need to know whether they can afford to pay their bills with this salary. If you interview someone who has gone through the whole process, and turns down the position due to salary as it’s not competitive to their current wage or in line with their salary expectations, it has not only wasted their time, but wasted your time too. When someone applies for a role with the salary stated, you can be more confident that they are happy to accept working the role at this pay rate.

Not stating a salary or using competitive salary is viewed negatively by job seekers, as it doesn’t give skilled workers confidence that you are willing to pay a wage in line with their skills and experience, and also gives the impression to job seekers that you are looking to pay the least possible amount.

If you don’t want to state an exact salary on your adverts, alternatively you can advertise a pay bracket instead, so it gives job seekers a better idea of the minimum and maximum salary rate of the role. 

4. Part time / School friendly hours

According to Timewise, around 600,000 people in the UK were seeking part time work, however only 12% of job vacancies were offering part time hours (November 2022)

Timewise also found that more people are balancing caring or ill health duties alongside work, and the number of people looking to fit in work around these reponsibilities has grown from 5.8m in 2017 to 8.4m in 2022.

There are also a lot of parents looking to get back into work, but are struggling to find work that is flexible around school hours. 

If you’re struggling to recruit, could you possibly reduce the working hours of a vacancy to 10am – 2pm, for example, so parents can still work around school hours? This would increase the pool of applicants who can then apply for your role, and once their children are older, it gives you both the option to increase that person’s hours dependent on your business needs.

5. Positive work wellbeing / Culture

13.7 million working days are lost each year in the UK because of work related stress, anxiety and depression costing the UK nearly £28.3 billion yearly (Source: Champion Health, 2023) 

The pandemic saw most people adopting a work from home life or being put on furlough, which gave them more time to reflect on their health and wellbeing. This change in employees is shifting employer’s views in how positive wellbeing attracts and retains employees. 


Did you know?

  • Healthy employees are 59% more likely to be engaged at work (MetLife, 2022)
  • Poor mental health affects productivity in 1 in 5 employees (Champion Health, 2022)
  • A study found that for every £1 invested in mental health interventions in the workplace, employers can see a return of £5 in reduced absenteeism and presenteeism (New Leaf Health, 2023)

Here are some examples on how you can help to improve a workplace culture/environment:

Mental Health first aiders

There is now an option for employees to take part in mental health first aid courses, to be a qualified person to provide support. 

Here are the benefits of having mental health first aiders in the workforce:

  • They can help to spot signs of distress or mental health issues and help to provide early intervention 
  • Their presence can help to reduce the stigma around mental health in the workplace and promotes open conversations
  • The mental health first aiders can help to provide a supportive environment, improved employee well-being, lower adsenteeism, improved company reputation and reduce staff turnover

Take part in Mental Health Week

Every year, you can get involved with Mental Health Awareness Week. Each year has a different theme and there are a variety of ways you can get involved. 

Promote employee recognition 

Here are some ideas you can do to encourage and recognise employee contribution in the workplace:

  • Employee of the Month
  • Company shout outs
  • Thank you cards / gifts
  • A simple ‘thank you’ can go a long way 
  • Celebrating work anniversaries 
  • Celebrating employee birthdays

Team building

Encouraging team building activities between employees can help to promote a positive work culture because:

  • It encourages communication between work colleagues which helps to improve relationships in the workplace 
  • It helps to build trust and cooperation
  • Fun and engaging team building exercises can help to boost morale and motivation 
  • It encourages learning and development through problem-solving and creative thinking
  • Fun and engaging team building exercises can help to alleviate stress

In conclusion, the landscape of job seeking continues to evolve, reflecting the changing priorities and expectations of candidates.

Job seekers are not merely in search of employment; they are seeking opportunities that align with their values, skills, and ambitions. They value flexibility, work-life balance, and a sense of purpose.

Understanding these shifting dynamics is crucial for both job seekers and employers. For employers, it’s an opportunity to create workplaces that attract and retain top talent by embracing these values and providing environments where individuals can thrive.

By doing so, you’ll contribute to creating a fulfilling work experience for everyone involved.

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