Job Expectations Around the World: What Do People Care About Most? [New Data]

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Lindsay Kolowich Cox
Lindsay Kolowich Cox



Companies are always looking for ways to hire exceptional employees. In fact, finding and hiring top talent was one of the top challenges marketers reported in 2015.

But what do job seekers actually look for in a new company? How concerned are they about the culture at your company, or how much they're paid, or whether they're working in a particular industry? And how do these priorities differ depending on where you are in the world?

To help answer these questions, we pulled some data from our 2015 State of Inbound report, which comprises research we collected from 4,000 marketers and salespeople around the globe.

Specifically, we asked these folks to rate the following priorities, in order of importance: culture, compensation, work-life balance, quality of sales leadership team, company performance, industry, perks (like tuition, child care, and so on), colleagues/team, and opportunities for growth.

Turns out, it isn't all about the ping pong tables. Here's what we found.

What Do People Around the World Consider When Looking For a New Job?

According to our research, in every region of the world, people are primarily looking for opportunities for growth when they look for new jobs.

We also found that, in every region of the world, employee perks like tuition, childcare, and so on were at the bottom of the priority list.


Image Credit: The 2015 State of Inbound Report

Here are our results broken down into more detail, by region:

In Australia and New Zealand (ANZ): Most people (27%) prioritize opportunities for growth, followed by company culture and work-life balance, which tied for second place (21% each). There's a significant drop-off after that, with compensation in third place (9%), then industry (8%), and company performance (7%). Folks in Australia and New Zealand are least focused on employee perks (1%). 

In Asia-Pacific (APAC): Most people (29%) prioritize opportunities for growth. Their next priorities are culture and compensation (both 15%), followed closely by work-life balance (14%) and then company performance and industry (10% each). People in Asia-Pacific are least focused on employee perks (1%) and the quality of the sales leadership team (2%).

In Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA): Most people (29%) prioritize opportunities for growth, followed by work-life balance (20%), culture (15%), and then compensation (13%). Respondents in this region are least focused on employee perks (1%) and the quality of the sales leadership team (3%).

In Latin America (LATAM): More people in Latin America prioritize opportunities for growth (31%) than anywhere else in the world. Work-life balance takes second place in this region (21%). After that, there's a significant drop-off to compensation (11%), and then culture and company performance (10% each). Folks in this region are least focused on employee perks (3%) and their colleagues and teammates (3%).

In North America (NORTHAM): People in North America prioritize opportunities for growth less than in other regions of the world, and these growth opportunities are tied for first place with company culture (20% each). Not far behind is compensation (18%), followed closely by work-life balance (16%). Marketers and salespeople in this region are least focused on employee perks (1%).

Key Takeaways

1) Prioritize employee growth.

A huge takeaway here is that no matter where you are in the world, if you want to hire top talent, you must invest in opportunities for your employees to grow.

In fact, according to a LinkedIn survey of 7,350 members across five countries, the #1 reason workers quit their job was because they sought greater opportunities for advancement. The best job candidates are attracted to companies that give them room to grow, develop their skills, and move up in the organization -- and if your company doesn't offer opportunities for them to do that internally, then they're going to look elsewhere.

But we know that many employers find it challenging to balance employee development and growth with more immediate concerns, like making deadlines and focusing on direct revenue producers. Luckily, Harvard Business Review found that the vast majority (as much as 90%) of learning and development takes place on the job, rather than in formal training programs. This means continuously giving employees new challenges, developmental feedback, and mentoring. It also might mean investing in management training, as "employees' direct managers are often their most important developers," according to HBR.

2) Build a thriving culture.

Another takeaway? It's important to build a thriving culture and allow your employees a reasonable work-life balance. Both priorities took one of the top three spots for most regions of the world, especially Australia, New Zealand, North America, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

Why is there such an emphasis on culture nowadays? As HubSpot's co-founder and CTO Dharhmesh Shah explained in a LinkedIn article, product is to marketing as culture is to recruiting. "Just like attracting customers is much easier with a great product, attracting amazing people is much easier with a great culture," he wrote.

Additionally, a well-defined culture helps you avoid hiring people that end up being bad fits -- which can have a corrosive impact on your organization, even long after they're gone.

3) Allow flexibility in the workplace.

As for work-life balance? Well, it tends to mean different things in different areas of the world. For some, great work-life balance is France's labor law that requires folks to disconnect from work emails and calls after-hours. For others, it's Denmark's notable initiatives for paid leave after the birth or adoption of a child. And, of course, there's always the argument over who has the most vacation days. (Turns out the winners include Austria, Portugal, Germany, Spain, and New Zealand.)  

At the end of the day, though, it's all about offering flexibility in the workplace. "Flexibility . . . and being able to balance work activities with non-work activities can end up making employees more productive," wrote HubSpot's Erik Devaney in his blog post on work-life balance. "And that’s good for business."

4) Focus on perks only when you've nailed everything else.

While tuition money, gym memberships, and catered lunches are all fun benefits to offer employees, they aren't the reasons candidates choose to work where they work. In fact, it's the least of their concerns when looking for a new job, regardless of where they live. While perks tend to get hyped up in the media, it's more important to focus on the specific things folks in your region of the world are looking for when they seek out new job opportunities -- at least at first.

What do you think about these findings? How do they reflect or differ from your own experiences? Share with us in the comments.

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Topics: Marketing Jobs

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