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CareerOne 27

February 2009 6:55am

There are seven segments of the so-called “passive” workforce that simply require a combination of the right triggers to consider a new job, research by CareerOne has found.

According to CareerOne chief executive Dr Stephen Hollings, the traditional view of jobseekers falling into broad categories of “active” and “passive” is out of date. He says that at any one time, more than 60 per cent of employed workers are “keeping their options open” and just need the right triggers to consider a new opportunity.

CareerOne’s research – conducted last year and in early 2009 to take into account changed market conditions – found that currently, 19 per cent of the workforce are actively looking to change jobs (up from 10% in 2008) and a similar number plan to stay put (up from 13%) – the “truly passive”. But the remainder – a group that hasn’t been studied in detail before – are actually happy in their job but “very open to a better opportunity if it came along”, Hollings says. “They’re the latent job hunters and the group that recruiters have always wanted to reach.”

CareerOne divides this large portion of the employed community into seven segments, each of which responds to different triggers to move jobs and wants different outcomes from their careers:

Personal ambition – Now representing 15 per cent of the market (up from 10% last year), these are very career-focused, predominantly white-collar employees who value recognition and the benefits that come from progressing through the larger companies, Hollings says. “You’ll generally find them in an upper-medium to large company. They’re very career savvy, they cast a wider net when searching for jobs. They move from job boards to newspapers to specialist recruiters; they use websites for research and once they’ve moved into job hunter mode they get their CVs out.”

Some 86 per cent of this group can be triggered into changing jobs with the right combination of temptations or “pull” factors, some specific ones being: more holidays; a substantial pay increase; benefits such as a gym, insurance or healthcare; and overseas work travel or transfer opportunities.

The biggest triggers for leaving a company include a delay in receiving a pay rise and limited opportunities for advancement.

Recognise me – Grown from11 per cent to 14 per cent of the employed market since the economy turned, this group is looking for a motivating environment which recognises their potential. “They want to progress faster; they want to be rewarded for their effort. “They’ll go either directly to employers or recruiters to get what they want. They’re also a more impulsive group.” The right triggers will tempt 93 per cent of this group into making a job change, for example being paid overtime for extra hours worked; 25-per-cent higher pay; and on-the-job training opportunities. They will consider leaving a job when they don’t feel motivated by management or their career path isn’t clearly mapped out.

Rewarding challenge – Consistent in size since 2008 at around 11 per cent of the workforce, this group is mainly middle-income and hard-working, often with family responsibilities and skewed towards men. According to Hollings, “they have a high level of dissatisfaction in their current job and they do weigh up the rewards being offered by other employers, but weigh them up very carefully before they move. “So for example they have a job cycle of about 12 weeks, so they’re very careful as they move through the process. They use job boards to keep up to date with the market, but they’re also strong on face-to-face discussions with people about the roles.” Key triggers to move for this group are a company car; benefits like gym and insurance; overtime pay; and company-paid training courses. Some 88 per cent say they would be tempted to consider moving by these facts, while their “push” triggers are management that isn’t motivating and a lack of new challenges.

Supportive environment – A large group at almost a quarter of the working population, workers in this category “what we call ‘every day Australians’, across a broad range of industries and roles. They move in jobs but they lack confidence in the moving process. They’re particularly looking for support in the process. “They’re very strong on a team-based, friendly environment. They look for training; they look for mentoring – they’re very important triggers for this group.” Some 94 per cent of this group say they could be tempted to move by factors such as a shorter commute, a more friendly and supportive team, significantly higher pay (25%) and the opportunity to have excellent mentors. Unmotivating managers and “too much politics” at work will push them to leave their job.

Drifters – Arguably of limited interest to recruiters, and representing about seven per cent of the workforce (down from 9%), this group tends to lack ambition. They often work in industries where there’s shiftwork or weekend work, and they look for a supportive team when choosing a job. Often, pressure from their partner is what drives them to move, as they tend not to move proactively forward in their careers, Hollings says. Work that’s closer to home, more money and a friendly team are their main triggers to move to a new job, with their primary reason for leaving a job being unachievable hours or partner pressure.

Flexibility – Another large group (23% up from 21% last year), and skewed towards females, these people tend to have family responsibilities, be more in middle-age and earn lower incomes. “They’re looking for recognition and challenge in the workplace,” Hollings says. “They want a sense of achievement away from home; they want to drive their careers forward. But because of other responsibilities, the workplace needs to fit in with that. They are prepared to have a very long job search – at least 15 weeks – and look more broadly in order to find the right role.” Some 93 per cent of this segment say they will consider moving for the right combination of factors such as local work (or short travel time), opportunities for quick promotion, and childcare benefits. They are most likely to leave a job if their achievements are being recognised or a pay rise is too slow in coming.

Contented – Not to be confused with the group who are happy to stay in their current job and not move, this group has grown significantly from nine per cent to 15 since the economy turned. “They are largely content, and loyal to their existing employer. They tend to move – when they do move – on their own terms, but they’re the least moveable group, and they don’t generally do it for monetary reasons,” Hollings says. “They will do it for career if it’s a good opportunity, they’ll certainly do it for training, and they tend to like networking in order to find those roles.” Only 59 per cent say they would move for the right tempting factors, which include the ability to work from home; a job that involves helping others; and opportunities to travel for work. The findings, Hollings says, demonstrate that even now, in more difficult times, 62 per cent of the currently employed workforce can be triggered into becoming job hunters.

And he says that while there are common triggers that tempt someone to move, “the weighting of the triggers is different in each segment – you’ve got to understand the segment that your candidates are likely to come from in order to understand their triggers”.

Hollings notes that the market is probably “yet to be hit” by the full effects of the economy, and CareerOne intends to keep the research up to date to measure how the segments are moving.

The research will be presented at an RCSA luncheon in Sydney next week. Click here for details.


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