Forget Pay and Cultural Fit, Here’s What Employees will Want in 2021

Five years ago most prospective employees said they were drawn to a job by the benefits on offer. Now, they’re more interested in company culture.

And five years from now? Flexibility will be key.

These are among the findings of a global survey of more than 1,100 hiring professionals carried out by the Futurestep division of recruitment firm Korn Ferry.

The swing away from wanting a good benefits package doesn’t just come down to the apparent choosiness or innate altruism of millennials. Economic factors are also at play.

“Currently, the most important need for millennials is finding a company culture that fits with their ethics or abilities.

Back in 2012, the world was still recovering from the financial crisis. Unemployment rates in most developed economies remained above long-term averages and staff at many companies were dealing with wage freezes or minimal annual increases.

So it makes sense that candidates felt the need for a stable paycheck. Today, workers are moving beyond basic needs to different priorities.

Currently, the most important one is finding a company culture that fits with their ethics or abilities, according to Futurestep’s Jeanne MacDonald. Millennials, for instance, want to feel good about where they’re working, while Gen Xers are more interested in taking their skills to places where they can make an impact, she said.

A recent study by the JPMorgan Chase Institute shows the majority of people still work in more traditional roles, while growth rates in the so-called gig economy are slowing as a wider economic recovery increases the attractiveness and availability of permanent roles.

Still, technological advances, such as faster and more reliable Internet connections and the emergence of virtual offices, could eventually give more people the opportunity to enjoy more flexible working arrangements, and spur a new uptick in gig economy growth.

“Instead of looking for full-time employment, talented, high-demand people will take contingent assignments where they can showcase their unique skills and talents, then complete the project and move to the next gig,” MacDonald said.