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Last year we started to see life return to the new normal, post-pandemic, with people coming out of hibernation and getting back into activities they enjoy with others. In our work lives, we saw some major trends, including The Great Resignation, quiet quitting and a number of substantial company layoffs, particularly in the technology sector. These events have job seekers re-evaluating what they want from potential employers as they look for new roles in the new year.

So what are job seekers looking for in 2023?   

If you’re looking to add to your employee roster this year, now is a good time to understand what potential employees are looking for so you can outshine your competition in the war for talent. It’s also critical for employers to have their fingers on the pulse of what job seekers are looking for in order to attract, hire and retain new employees, and to keep current employees working for your organization.

According to a November 2022 survey conducted by Employ, Inc., the top 5 motivations for employees seeking a new role include:

  • Getting more money: 34.4%
  • Ability to work remotely: 21.3%
  • Career advancement: 12.6%
  • Unemployment or fear of becoming unemployed: 9.6%
  • Leaving a bad manager or bad company culture: 8.5%

Let’s look at each of these separately to determine what job seekers in 2023 really want from their employers.

A competitive salary

Inflation is taking a toll on everyone’s disposable income, and the cost of living is rising at a rate that is hard for employers to keep up with in terms of raises. An increase is salary is often the top reason for pursuing a new job, so competitive salaries and salary increases are at the top of the list when it comes to attracting and retaining top talent.


The pandemic forced employees out of their offices and into their homes for the better part of two years. What started out as an unplanned experiment has become widely embraced by many, and you simply can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube. If not fully remote, many employees are looking for at least a hybrid arrangement, working two to three days in the office and from home on the other days.

According to the third edition of McKinsey’s American Opportunity Survey, 87% of people, if given the opportunity to work in a flexible work environment, would take it. The survey also noted that 92 million people, or 58% of all employees in the U.S., work remotely at least part time.

Having proven that they could get their work done from home during the entirety of the pandemic, many employees are no longer willing to return to pre-pandemic requirements to be in the office five days a week, especially if they have long commutes.

Career advancement

Do you offer employees a yearly career development stipend so they can develop and hone skills that will allow them to advance in their careers?  No one wants to stay “low man on the totem pole” indefinitely.

Employees want to know that working hard will bring rewards that include promotions and raises, with additional levels of responsibility. Your organization needs to be set up to allow employees to progress through certain levels of promotion. If an employee who justifiably deserves a promotion is overlooked, you can be sure they will go elsewhere for the recognition they deserve.

Offering coaching and mentorship programs to new employees show them that your organization is as invested in their future as they are.


You’d have to be living under a rock not to be aware of the massive layoffs in the last several months, mainly among tech companies. Job seekers today are looking for stability – they don’t want to be afraid of a pending layoff and becoming unemployed. In fact, many employees will leave companies if they sense that there may be layoffs on the horizon.

Learning that your organization is squarely focused on promoting job security and stability motivates potential and current employees to want to work for you. Given all the fear that recent layoffs have instilled in many workers, organizations need to continuously look for ways to set employees’ minds at ease. Happy and secure employees also talk up your organization to their colleagues and friends, often making it easier for you to secure top talent through referrals.

Healthy workplace culture

There’s a saying, “People don’t leave bad workplaces, they leave bad managers.” And while this is true in many cases, people also leave toxic work environments. What does a healthy workplace culture look like?

  • People and their opinions are respected
  • There is inclusivity where everyone is allowed to show up as who they are
  • It’s ethical – any unethical behavior is dealt with immediately so it doesn’t become pervasive
  • Mental health is a priority
  • There is a good work-life balance and time away from work is encouraged and generous
  • Employees feel that their work is valued
  • There is transparency from the top on down through the leadership ranks
  • People are motivated and productive; morale is high
  • There is very little turnover

Toxic work environments lead to burnout, low morale, mental health crises and, ultimately, to employees leaving your organization.

While these are five things that job candidate place a high value on in 2023, they also are things that current employees value. Attracting stellar talent is hard. Retaining that talent is even harder. It would behoove any organization to look at how they measure up in these areas and make any necessary changes. An employee survey might be a good place to start when trying to assess the temperature of employees in your organization and the likelihood that they will stay or go.

Looking for new employees to become part of your team? We’d love to be AtWork for YOU! Visit atwork.com/locations to find an office near you. 

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