The UK’s Perfect Job Revealed: Salary is Still Number One

The annual Randstad Award survey reveals what UK workers value most in their job and what different generations want from their work life

A fantastic salary and a top-drawer benefits package are still the things Brits most want from their job, according to new research.

perfect job

Workers in the UK favour these two attributes above anything else when it comes to describing their perfect job.

Work/life balance and long-term job security are also important but ultimately for British employees, money is key.

The results from global recruitment consultancy Randstad reveal 22% of those polled value a competitive salary and excellent benefits package more than any other aspect.

16% of respondents rank job security as the most important factor whilst 9% say work/life balance is the most important thing for them.

The survey of 8,100 employees across the UK, which looked at factors that employees value most when looking for work, also found convenient location, interesting day-to-day work and a pleasant working atmosphere is important for 8%.

Just 4% rank career progression and good training as qualities required for the perfect job.

Mark Bull, Randstad’s UK CEO, said:

“While work/life balance is increasingly important in today’s job market, for the vast majority of Brits a great pay and benefits package is still in pole position when they picture the perfect job.

More people are actively targeting a better quality of life but at the same time it’s pretty clear that money still talks. However, there are some exceptions to the rule.

The youngest UK employees are especially drawn to companies offering a pleasant working atmosphere, while people in Wales, the North East and Northern Ireland consider long-term job security to be the single most important part of the perfect job.”

Work/life Balance

Increasingly, job seekers are looking for better work/life balance when it comes to finding their next role.

The factor came third on the list of most attractive traits but is particularly important for younger workers.

HR is experiencing challenging times with the the outflow of retiring baby boomers greater than the inflow of young talent.

Offering the right mix of benefits is crucial to tackling this demographic pressure and by offering better work/life balance, employers can expect to attract the best quality candidates.

A large proportion of female workers, particularly those with young children, choose to work part-time. Increasingly, the percentage of fathers working part-time is also growing.

According to Randstad, by taking account of these trends, employers can retain talented staff, lower staff hiring costs and staff turnover levels.

However, respondents rated employers worst in the survey on work/life balance, indicating there is room for improvement in what they offer.

Mr Bull said:

“Companies need to look at the best ways to attract younger talent and to retain older professionals who might be considering retirement.

A baby boomer might consider working longer if they are able to go part-time or enjoy flexible working hours, a younger professional with family responsibilities might again be persuaded by flexible working or leave to allow them to manage family and life commitments.

However, our results show that employers rank worst for work/life balance. By improving their offering to potential staff and offering better balance they will attract a higher calibre of workers.”

Job Security

Job security is also proving increasingly important to job hunters, coming second on the list of top factors to consider.

According to Randstad, 52% of those polled in the UK seek long-term job security when looking for a new employer.

It is more important for older workers than younger workers though equally motivating for both men and women.

When employees were asked to rank the factors companies score best on though, long-term job security only ranked sixth despite being the second most important thing they look for.

Mr Bull said:

“Companies that want to remain attractive among existing and prospective employees need to remember that the basic principles of a good wage and job security are still valued more than anything else.

The best employers instinctively understand how to strike the right balance.”

Flexibility of Working Hours 

Only 5% of those asked said flexibility was the most important thing for them but increasingly, it is something employers are considering to attract and retain high quality workers.

Offering a competitive salary and benefits packages are not always an option, but offering staff flexible hours instead can increase high quality candidate attraction.

The survey results revealed staff in legal and public functions were more interested in flexible working arrangements compared to other professions.

It was also something of particular interest to post-millennials who have grown up with technology and take for granted the ability to access information anywhere, any time.

Mr Bull said:

“Given the pace of technological change, the modern work environment is evolving rapidly, with employers placing more and more focus on flexible and remote working in order to retain and attract talent.”

Remote Work

Remote working is also becoming a quality workers look for when searching for their perfect job.

Whilst more than a third (35%) still want to work in the office every day, six in ten (62%) said they would like to work remotely at least occasionally.

For some Brits this isn’t enough though with 14% revealing they would like to work remotely every day.

This figure rises to 18% for those aged 45 to 65, compared to just 13% of those aged 25 to 44.

This, combined with the fact 58% of workers would like to work flexible hours rather than a standard working week, indicates a sea change in the way employees view the perfect job.

Mr Bull added:

“The UK work environment is rapidly changing and employers need to be mindful of what their staff and potential employees want.

In order to remain attractive, they need to sit up and take note or they will find themselves faced with a smaller talent pool as workers opt for companies where their requests for remote working are listened to.”

Gemma Umney

Senior Communications Manager

Randstad UK

free trial cakehr

Written By

Guest Author

If you have exceptional writing skills and would like to share your expertise with a large audience of HR executives, business owners, and managers, we'd love to hear from you!