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The qualities men and women look for in a new job are significantly different, new research shows.
A study by staffing firm Randstad U.S. found that although salary and benefits are the most important factors in both genders' choice of an employer, men and women do have different preferences for other aspects of employer attractiveness.
The research revealed that work-life balance is a top concern for women, whereas men are more focused on career-progression opportunities. Specifically, nearly 40 percent of the women surveyed believe workplace flexibility is an important employer attribute, compared to just 26 percent of men. On the other hand, 42 percent of the men surveyed said they look for opportunities to advance, compared to 36 percent of women.
Lisa Crawford, senior vice president at Randstad U.S., said the way a company is perceived impacts what types of candidates it will attract.
"Companies may need to focus on key elements, such as building culture and adopting more flexible work policies, to appeal to different demographics," Crawford said. "Attracting and retaining talent is not a one-stop shop — particularly with a diverse workforce and multiple generations sitting side by side to one another."
Another area where the two genders differ is in their preference for a job's location. The study shows that 44 percent of female employees think location is an important employer attribute, compared to just 35 percent of men.
However, a company's financial stability is more important to men than to women. More than 35 percent of the men surveyed said the financial health of a company is very important to them, compared to only 28 percent of female employees.
As the job market continues its steady momentum and worker confidence increases, Crawford said, more employees will be keeping their options open for other opportunities.
"If companies are to retain and attract the best talent, they first need to assess what their brand really means, determine what keeps their talent coming through their doors and how to attract the next wave of workers, who may have different expectations than what their company currently offers," she said. "With women making up half the workforce, [employers] should also consider the unique things that women value when choosing an employer."
Crawford added that investment in building a strong employer brand will pay off in a stable workforce, a better match of talent within the organization and increased engagement and productivity.
The study was based on surveys of 7,000 students, employed workers and unemployed workers ages 18 to 65.