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Indeed research highlights the great divide between Australian employers and job seekers

A job advertisement that stands out could make the difference between attracting average talent and attracting the best. It’s also the first time a potential employee views the company. 

However, many employers fail to understand what potential applicants want to see in a job listing.

A new Indeed survey throws some light on why job searchers and employers in Australia don’t always see eye to eye in their approach to recruitment. 

Indeed interviewed over 2,033 working-age Australians (aged between 18 to 69) who are currently employed full-time or part-time or are actively looking for work.

The survey indicated a gap between what job seekers and employers believe should be included in job advertisements and the major turn-offs for both groups during the recruitment process.

“With almost four in 10 Australians currently employed reporting they’re looking to change jobs in the next 12 months, employers will have an opportunity to attract top talent,” Indeed’s Kate Furey, Career Insights Specialist, said. 

“The majority of job seekers feel salary and job description relevance are the most important aspects of a job ad, and a growing number of job seekers – particularly those in Gen Z – are placing equal importance on company reputation and organisational values. 

“Employers don’t always include this information in their ads, and its addition could make all the difference,” she said.

The ‘perfect’ job advertisement

When sifting through job postings, candidates seek ads that include: 

  • Relevant job descriptions (74 per cent) 
  • Salary indication (65 per cent) 
  • Flexible working options (56 per cent)

Unfortunately, data from Indeed’s poll found that recruiters do not always get it right regarding what they include in the ad. 

For example, flexible working divides job seekers and recruiters, with 56 per cent of job seekers saying it’s crucial for ads to include information about flexible working options. Only 48 per cent of those who recruit say the same. 

Employers are also likely to overestimate the importance of non-salary benefits and company values. Over 44 per cent of employers stated that including information about non-salary benefits such as superannuation, holiday allowance, and office perks in job ads is very important. 

In comparison, only 21 per cent of job seekers reported that they look for this in a job listing.

Generational differences

It’s worth noting that age differences play a big part in what job seekers look for in job ads. According to the survey: 

  • Baby Boomers (85 per cent) value a relevant job description more than other generations. In comparison, Gen X is more concerned about flexible working options (62 per cent). 
  •  Millennials are more interested in learning about professional advancement options (54 per cent). Still, salary indication (64 per cent) is just as important as having a relevant job description (67 per cent). 
  • The youngest working generation, Gen Z, is the most likely to look for an indication of a company’s reputation and values.

Employed vs unemployed

There is a considerable gap between what employed job seekers want and what unemployed job seekers want. 

The study found that job seekers already employed are pickier in their job search, preferring more detailed and in-depth information before applying. 

Employed job seekers (69 per cent), for example, are significantly more interested in seeing pay details in advertisements than their unemployed counterparts (55 per cent). 

Employed job seekers are also more concerned about career development opportunities (49%) and company reputation (47%) than unemployed job seekers (39% and 35%, respectively). 

Why you should put salaries on your job ads

While two-thirds of job seekers (65 per cent) believe seeing a role’s salary in a job ad is important, only 58 per cent of employers agree. Only one in ten employers said they always include a salary, salary band, wage, or hourly rate in their job ads. 

Half of the employers who disclose income in their job adverts do so as a salary band range, 42 per cent provide exact values, and 35 per cent provide the same but negotiable figure. 

Nearly half (49 per cent) of businesses who don’t include salary say it’s to attract candidates who are more interested in the work than in the money. In contrast, others (40 per cent) said it’s to find the most cost-effective staff. 

A further (30 per cent) of employers said they withhold compensation information to maintain employee confidentiality, while just under a quarter (24 per cent) said that it’s to avoid disclosing wages to competitors.

Impress the interviewees 

The survey revealed that most job seekers (66 per cent) are turned off by impolite, distracted, or disinterested interviewers throughout the interview process. At the same time, 55 per cent of the job seekers would like more regular communication and feedback during the process. 

 Furthermore, more than half (54%) of respondents believe that disparities between the role specified in a job ad and what is mentioned in an interview may lead to job refusal. 

(50 per cent) of job seekers disliked having too many pre-interviews preparations. 

The study found that job seekers should be on time, enthusiastic, prepared, positive and tidy in personal appearance to ace an interview. 

Moreover, job candidates expect interviewers to be engaged, provide timely feedback, be consistent in how they communicate about the job role, and not make the candidate jump through too many hoops.

The survey also pointed out that women (69 per cent) are more likely than men (63 per cent) to overlook a rude interviewer. At the same time, Baby Boomers (67 per cent) and Gen X (54 per cent) are more likely than younger job searchers to be discouraged by too many pre-interview steps. 

According to the report, women (42 per cent) are more likely than men (37 per cent) to reject interviewers who ask personal questions.

Note to job applicants

The survey found that employers are turned off by a candidate’s lack of enthusiasm (61 per cent). In contrast, just over half are turned off by lateness (54 per cent), a lack of preparation (53 per cent), and discrepancies between a candidate’s CV (53 per cent) and how they present themselves at the interview (52 per cent ). 

Furthermore, 48 per cent of employers indicated they could reject an applicant based on personal appearance. Forty-four per cent said they dislike hearing bad comments about a former employer or colleague. 

Male employers (54 per cent) are much more likely than female employers (41 per cent) to be put off by an applicant’s appearance. 

Female employers (61 per cent) are more likely than male employers (46 per cent) to discredit a candidate who has discrepancies in their application.

“Our research has shown a disconnect between the information desired by job seekers and what is currently being served to them in job ads. Therefore, now is a good time for employers to review their approach,” Ms Furey concluded. 

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Yajush Gupta

Yajush Gupta

Yajush is a journalist at Dynamic Business. He previously worked with Reuters as a business correspondent and holds a postgrad degree in print journalism.

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