Beyond the Pay check: Priorities for the Australian Job Seeker

Happiness in the workplace is a consistent concern for employers and employees alike. Even before, the correlation between work output, employee satisfaction, and underemployment are relevant to overall business success and individual fulfillment.

Unfortunately, underemployment has been on the rise. Since 2000, underemployed workers have outnumbered people who are unemployed. In fact, the underemployment rate was higher at 7.2% compared with the unemployment rate at 5.2% last May 2010.

This is forcing around 40% of university graduates to work outside areas of their field of study. Additionally, more than 30% of graduates in Australia were unable to land a job in 2014, with a great number of them seeking additional studies. This imbalance is churning out over-educated and under-skilled individuals.

Despite these issues, Australian job seekers are looking for these factors when searching for the right job:

Work-life balance considered the top priority for job seekers

Surprisingly, the importance of work-life balance is given the highest importance by Australians. Hudson’s 2015 study gathered the answers of about 3,000 professionals and hiring managers across the country, and learned that work-life balance is the top priority among Australian job seekers. Work-life balance is given more importance compared to salary, career growth opportunities, and job title, signalling a dramatic change in Australian work culture, and a mounting pressure in the part of employers to entertain arrangements that don’t compromise their employee’s personal time.

Cultural fit – Why it is worth talking about

Among the factors that Australian jobseekers are taking into consideration, cultural fit might be an aspect least heard of. While organizations have already been taking this into consideration for the past decades, employees and job seekers are just beginning to realise how they fit into an organisation’s culture could help them thrive at work.

In essence, cultural fit measures and helps determine how much a person reflects a company’s core values and how they will be able to adapt to the company’s culture should they get hired. It looks into a person’s set of beliefs, attitudes, and behaviours into the company’s work culture.

In recent years, cultural fit is being given growing importance in hiring. An analysis released in 2005 established that employees who fit well within their company, co-workers, and supervisors find greater satisfaction at work. People who fit within the organization are also found to show exemplary performance on the job, jive well with their colleagues, and are less likely to resign from their job – making cultural fit an important aspect when looking for work.

Learning opportunities

Seasoned employees know that it is vital for hiring officers to identify what skills a person has that will benefit the company. For job seekers, knowing about what learning opportunities await them at work is just as important. Job seekers, especially those who are working for the first time, crave applicable skills and relevant knowledge that will help them improve in their career. Which is why it’s unsurprising to see that about 40% of fresh graduates cited learning opportunities as a major factor in their job hunt, second only to benefits and work-life balance.

Careers are built with the constant drive to learn and excel, which is why people who aim to excel in their field are putting their job’s learning opportunity under close scrutiny.

Passion as a factor in selecting what jobs to get

Someone who is passionate about what they do might just become a superstar at work. Because passion helps bring out a number of traits, such as a deeper sense of creativity and innovation, stronger focus, desire to excel, and resilience in adversity, they are able to provide better work quality despite stressful work conditions.

However, not everyone is lucky enough in landing a job they’re passionate about. In fact, a research shows that 43% of Australians are looking to change careers within the next 12 months and that 13% is changing careers to pursue their passion. This is why it’s crucial for a person to build a career based on their passion.

“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.”

Mark Twain

As you continue looking for work, you might be presented with a job position where you’ll lack the necessary skills, then struggle to deliver and perform at work. For example, a seasoned Restaurant Service Manager might be promoted to a General Manager due to unforeseen business needs. At this point, without the necessary soft skills and business expertise, this person might face adversities and eventually become a business liability rather than an asset. This scenario will be detrimental both to the employer and employee, which must be addressed either through self-development or by providing training for employees.

Going down a career path that showcases your skill set could be an obvious move. However, it’s almost impossible to really know how well you fit in a job until you already have it. Setting priorities on job preferences can help job seekers and potential employers alike to determine what traits to look for, and how to shape their business that will make current and future employees feel contented and happy at work.