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Opaque pay, unclear expectations drive candidates to withdraw applications



Dive Brief:

  • The four distinct generations in today’s workforce — Gen Z, millennials, Gen X and baby boomers — share some similarities, namely, what causes them to lose interest in a job opening, a June 22 report by talent solutions and business consulting firm Robert Half revealed.
  • Though not in the same order, all generations rank a lack of salary transparency, unclear or unreasonable job responsibilities, and poor communication with a hiring manager among the top reasons they would withdraw from being considered for an open role, a survey of 1,000 workers found. By a wide margin, Gen Xers, millennials and baby boomers say competitive salaries with regular merit increases have the biggest influence on their job satisfaction and desire to stay with an employer, according to the survey.
  • Across the board, respondents said they see value in a multigenerational workforce, including exposure to a wider range of perspectives, learning from colleagues with different levels of experience and mentoring or being mentored by colleagues from other generations, the survey found. “Building and managing teams is complicated, especially as workforce demographics and priorities shift,” Robert Half’s senior executive director Paul McDonald said in a press release. “Ultimately, all professionals want to feel supported and valued,” McDonald said.

Dive Insight:

The desire for transparency — in pay, job expectations and work culture, particular around diversity and inclusion — is having a big impact on post-pandemic recruiting and retention, recent research shows.

This may be because pay transparency goes beyond complying with state and local laws and sharing salary ranges; it reflects an organization’s culture, panelists emphasized during a February webinar hosted by consulting firm Mercer.

Pay transparency requires employers to evaluate how jobs are compensated and how pay structures are explained and communicated internally and externally, the panelists said. And how these actions are handled has a profound effect on whether employees choose to stay with an organization or look elsewhere for work, a talent expert noted.

For example, a June 1 Payscale report found that although compensation transparency helps reduce turnover, employees are more likely to leave a job if they notice their raises aren’t keeping up with advertised salaries.

By communicating to workers how pay is set, why it’s competitive and how pay can be progressed, employers can address those concerns.

Employers should also consider revising their job descriptions to make them more realistic and transparent, the results of a Simplicity survey of more than 3,000 college students suggested.

Robert Half echoed these recommendations. It suggested employers be upfront with candidates about salaries and job responsibilities, and when working with a talent solutions firm, communicate needs clearly and stay in touch with the recruiter.

The Robert Half survey revealed another timely issue: AI is weighing on workers’ minds. “Workers of all generations would rather undergo training to reskill for a new role at their current company than pursue a different position if their job was at risk,” the company said.

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