Recruitment & Hiring

Survey shows what really makes employers attractive

Andrew Sadauskas /

Newcrest Mining ranks as the most attractive place to work out of the biggest 150 companies in Australia, according to a survey of 7,000 people, published by recruitment firm, Randstad. The national broadcaster, the ABC, ranked second, and Virgin Australia was in third place, after winning last year.

While the survey reveals that job security is the most important feature to all respondents in 2012, up 15% from last year, the results vary a great deal when respondents are broken down into men and women, old and young, and the higher or lower educated.

Slightly more women (3,590) responded than men (3,497) to the survey.

When broken down by gender, more men (46%) ranked financial health as a crucial factor, as well as career progression (34%) and strong management (32%). The way to win women is to promote diversity (43%), support flexible work arrangements (42%) and offer a convenient location (30%).

Women show very little interest in training (2%), the quality of their employer’s product and services (4%) or a company that demonstrates strong values (8%).

Men don’t give a damn what they do, apparently, with only 6% naming interesting job content as an attractive factor, long-term job security is a factor for only 8%, and a competitive salary rates with 9%.

Older workers are even keener on diversity, with 78% more naming it among their top five factors. They are also more concerned (56%) about the reputation of their employer’s products and services and want an interesting job (19%).

Understandably, the young are looking for career advancement (57%), good training (22%) and – reinforcing Gen Y stereotypes a little at least – work/life balance (13%).

The least educated respondents want to work around the corner, with 39% more interested in a convenient location as among their top five factors. They look for a pleasant atmosphere (19%) and flexible working arrangements (18%).

Career progression is top of mind for the highly educated (41%), as are the image and values (33%) of their employer. They also rate financial health strongly (18%).

Disappointingly for leading companies, strong management is not highly ranked highly as the most important factor (2%). Although its importance creeps up a bit among the top five (17%), its importance is down 18% as a top five factor. (However, repeated studies show that poor skills in an immediate manager is a number one factor in people leaving one job for another.)

Young people do not think about management at all, while only 12% of older people see broad management skills as in their top five factors.

The top 20 most attractive companies in 2012 are:

  • Newcrest Mining
  • ABC
  • Virgin Australia
  • GHD
  • Wesfarmers
  • Cadbury Schweppes
  • BAE Systems
  • Rio Tinto
  • IBM
  • Australian Leisure & Hospitality Group
  • Pilbara Iron
  • BHP
  • Nestle
  • Coca-Cola Amatil
  • KPMG
  • Computershare
  • Deloitte
  • Toyota
  • Woodside Petroleum
  • PwC

The importance factors vary by industry:

  • Long-term job security is most important in the Fast Moving Consumer Goods sector.
  • Pleasant working atmosphere: Travel, Leisure and Hospitality.
  • Financially healthy: Automotive and Vehicles.
  • Convenient location: Industrial and Manufacturing.

The least most important factors are:

  • International global opportunities.
  • Latest technology.
  • Environmentally and socially aware.

The channels used to find jobs vary greatly by demographic:

  • The highly educated network.
  • Young people look online.
  • Newspaper ads are used by the old, women, and the lower educated.
  • Most women name “other” (possibly recruited to the family company).

Awareness of the company’s brand improves its attractiveness as an employer. When companies are no well known, the niche players are among the most attractive.

Aviation is the most attractive sector of the brand name employers, and Mining the most attractive of the unfamiliar brand names

This article first appeared on LeadingCompany.

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Andrew Sadauskas

Andrew Sadauskas is a former journalist at SmartCompany and a former editor of TechCompany.

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