Did We Accurately Predict What Candidates Desire In 2023?

19th Jul 2023

We're halfway through 2023, and things are getting very interesting! 

At the end of last year, we discussed how working environments had transformed and what that means for the future. We dug deep into topics like the changing demands of job seekers and what companies can do to attract and keep the best talent throughout 2023. 

Now, half way through the year, we’re looking back to see if our predictions were right…

The hiring landscape at the end of 2022

At the end of 2022, data from the Flexa platform showcased a significant shift. The once dominant trend of fully remote work, which was all the rage, had lost some of its charm. Instead, we witnessed a rise in demand for remote-first or flexible hybrid work arrangements. Fully remote work saw a notable decline by almost half, while remote-first approaches nearly tripled in popularity

And here’s some insight into what Flexified companies noticed at the end of 2022:

Chris Woods, Senior Regional Employer Reputation & Recruitment Marketing Manager at Mars UK

Having a blend of in-office and out-of-office is more important than ever before. Personally, I've noticed a slight dip in productivity when I'm in the office, but the real value lies in the opportunity to collaborate effortlessly, something that could take days to achieve solely online. But the importance here is flexibility; there's no one-size-fits-all solution for us. Decisions should align with the needs of the business, customers, and teams.” 

Louis Thorne, Global Talent Acquisition Lead at Flipdish

Just being flexible isn’t enough anymore; having that culture, whether it be in the office or virtually, is going to be just as important as offering flexibility. Culture is now actually overtaking the ability of just being able to work from home. Combining both flexibility and workplace culture is how I see it moving forward.

Gillian French, Chief People Strategist at Workvivo

“I think the 40-hour work week will phase out over the next five to ten years, and with the number of positive studies that have come out of the four-day week, companies have noticed productivity remaining the same and people being happier. There's a lot of wasted time in companies, for example, unnecessary meetings. Instead, we can repurpose that and get a little bit more productive to create a win-win for everybody”.

So, there you have a round-up from 2022. Are you curious about how these changes and insights would shake up 2023? Did we anticipate these trends to persist? 

Take a listen to our webinar featuring Molly Johnson-Jones - CEO & Co-founder at Flexa, Chris Woods - Senior Regional Employer Reputation & Recruitment Marketing Manager at Mars UK, Louis Thorne - Global Talent Acquisition Lead at Flipdish and Gillian French - Chief People Strategist at Workvivo; as they spill the beans on the market predictions for 2023 and as well as some predictions looking into 2030. 

The top 5 predictions we made for 2023

Watch our webinar for all of the insights, but if you’re wanting to get a quick rundown of what the preferences and predictions were for 2023’s candidates and employers then keep reading!

1. Candidates will be looking for that ultimate package 

Molly Johnson-Jones, CEO & Co-founder at Flexa

Candidates are looking for freedom, and companies can offer this within a framework. For example, one week, you might want to start earlier and finish earlier. Another week, you might want to start later and finish later; this is the choice we need. Companies can showcase their framework and give employees a choice as to whether they want to work for you or not; it’s about telling your stories to people but not trying to appeal to everybody.

Interestingly, there was also a YouGov survey on what people are looking for, assuming that the salary is fair, of course. Flexibility and work environment are number one, but that’s very closely followed by mission and purpose and then by opportunities for growth and development. And that was consistent across GenZ, Millenial and GenY. It's really important for companies to adapt to that.”

2. Employees will no longer want to ‘live to work’

Chris Woods, Senior Regional Employer Reputation & Recruitment Marketing Manager at Mars UK

“There is a broken relationship with work, we don’t live to work, and that’s not how it should be. They’ll be more of a push towards flexibility, mental health support and inclusion. 

It's about realising it's a two-way street; we don't work for a company; we work with a company. There are different needs for different people, and employees should pick what works for them.” 

3. Off-the-cuff recognition will become a lot more prominent 

Louis Thorne, Global Talent Acquisition Lead at Flipdish

People crave it [recognition of their work]. Giving managers the flexibility to make decisions around recognition, i.e. we’ve worked really hard this week; everyone have a thank-you-Friday. It’s about empowering managers to have that flexibility to make those off-the-cuff decisions. Those little things mean so much to people.”

4. People will care more about the product

Louis Thorne, Global Talent Acquisition Lead at Flipdish

“Employees will no longer want to work for companies they aren’t aligned with. Being open and honest about who you are as a company will allow employees the choice to figure out whether they have your shared values. And one way of showcasing that is through socials; the majority of candidates now find their roles through social media rather than on a traditional job board; socials are going to be huge, not just LinkedIn!”

5. Leadership will become an even bigger focus for candidates

Gillian French, Chief People Strategist at Workvivo

“People will do much more research before committing to a job as they’ll be fussier about who they align with. Companies need to be clear on their purpose and values from the start; they’ll need to have proper leadership in place that role-models behaviour and a healthy environment that is good for mental health. Certainly, people will become a lot less tolerant of inappropriate behaviours too. 

Now, the big question is: were we on point? Let's find out!

What does the market currently look like?

Well, it's true; employees no longer want to work to live; they want the full package. They want freedom, choice, flexibility and an environment that is good for their mental health. 

And that’s evident from the data gathered by Flexa that showcases the most favourable flexibility options over a 3-month rolling average are: 

  • 81.6% of candidates are loving Work From Anywhere schemes 
  • 43.5% of candidates are open to part-time employees and a more flexible lifestyle
  • 42.6% of candidates would like a work-from-home allowance to create a more comfortable space to work 
  • 34.7% of candidates are looking for companies that offer mental health support 
  • 29.6% of candidates would like to have a well-being allowance 
  • 27.2% of candidates want unlimited annual leave for more flexibility and choice
  • 25.1% of candidates would love Summer hours as a reward 

And looking at the location preferences of job seekers, we can see that although fully remote is still the favourable option, it’s closely followed by remote-first.

  • 51.67% of candidates are seeking fully remote (no office) roles
  • 34.50% of candidates are interested in remote first (office-optional) roles

The key here is still choice!

Not to mention the fact that candidates are increasingly looking for employers who align with their preferences. Searching for how you work continues to grow in popularity and there are now 1 million users across 100 different countries using Flexa to find a role that aligns with their lifestyle, whether that be flexibility around location, time, responsibilities, lifestyle or personal requirements. 

The demand is there, and it’s growing rapidly.