Reason for dropping applications include lack of flexible hours and bonus.

Ghost watching.

Robert Half UK research has found that more than one in ten office workers have admitted to ‘professional ghosting’ when applying for a job over the last 12 months. Nearly one in six (14 per cent) office workers admitted to the practice when going through the recruitment process, with the average worker ghosting prospective employers twice a year.

‘Professional ghosting’ refers to a potential employee avoiding communication with a company during the application process. It is more common among younger workers, with a quarter (25 per cent) of under 35-year-olds admitting to the practice, compared to just five per cent of workers aged over 45.

‘Professional ghosting’ is symptomatic of the current buyer’s market with employment levels reaching record highs in 2019. As a result, job seekers are often juggling multiple offers, putting the onus on employers to review their talent attraction strategies outside of remuneration alone.

One third (31 per cent) of employees said they would decline a job offer that did not include flexible working hours, with the average employee prepared to take a three per cent pay cut in return for the option to work outside normal office hours.

Meanwhile, 14 per cent of workers would reject a job offer if a bonus was not included as part of the proposal, while 12 per cent would do the same if they were not able to work from home at least once a week.

 

Flexible working hours 31 per cent
Bonus 14 per cent
Ability to work from home at least once a week 12 per cent
Above average employer contribution to pension 11 per cent
Employee wellbeing packages 8 per cent
Above average maternity / paternity packages 5 per cent
Unlimited annual leave 4 per cent
Share options 4 per cent
Gym membership 3 per cent
Leisure/games facilities in the office 2 per cent
None of the above 52 per cent

Table 1: Total who would consider rejecting job offer if benefits/perks were not offered (respondents allowed to selected multiple answers)

 

A third of workers (32 per cent) would take a pay cut if a company offered them other benefits, such as a gym membership. Separate to employee benefits, company culture is also important to prospective employees, particularly the younger generation. Two in five (38 per cent) workers said that company culture is more important than salary, rising to 43 per cent for under 35-year-olds compared to 29 per cent of workers aged over 45.

We are currently in a buyer’s market and business leaders are having to review their employee attraction strategies in order to secure the best talent,” commented Matt Weston, managing director at Robert Half UK. “Where the recruitment process was once entirely driven by the employer’s timetable, the war for talent is seeing a powershift towards in-demand talent which is feeding the growing trends of professional ghosting.

“As our 2020 Salary Guide has highlighted, skilled professionals today are looking for a comprehensive remuneration package, including benefits alongside a competitive salary,” he said. “Flexible working is increasingly popular with many candidates refusing to accept a job offer which does not include this in some form. Aside from employee benefits, employers looking to attract and retain top talent should prioritise developing a clear employer brand. In-demand professionals increasingly want to work for companies with a strong identity and a well-defined culture and ethos, making it another key factor in improved employee retention.”

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