Who do you think places more emphasis on job security?
The answer: Employees — by far.
That may not come as a surprise, but what’s disturbing is the large discrepancy in the way employees feel about job security and how HR does.
According to a pair of new surveys by benefits consultancy Towers Watson, employees consider job security as — far and away — a more important aspect of job attractiveness than employers do.
When asked to rank a list of eight job “attraction drivers” (what would most sway job candidates to accept a job), employees ranked job security as the No. 2 driver, second only to base pay/salary.
Employers, on the other hand, ranked job security seventh, ahead of only vacation/paid time off.
The surveys also asked participants to rank the top “retention drivers” in the workplace, and once again, job security received much higher marks from employees than their employers.
Employees ranked job security as the No. 4 retention driver, while it failed to even register on employers’ radar.
As part of its Global Talent Management and Rewards Study, Towers Watson surveyed more than 32,000 employees and more than 1,600 HR pros and executives. The goal was to find drivers of job attraction, retention and engagement — and measure the discrepancy between employers’ and employees’ views on each.
Why so different?
It’s easy to surmise why employees value job security so highly. In the wake of one of the worst (although certainly not the worst) unemployment crises in American history, workers are likely to be seeking some relief from having to worry about whether or not they’ll remain employed.
Why HR pros view job security the way they do, however, is a little bit murkier.
But Laura Sejen, Towers Watson managing director, shared some ideas on the matter, reported The Wall Street Journal.
The first theory: Employers don’t hold job security in the highest esteem because they can’t offer long-term job guarantees.
Second: HR’s been getting mixed signals from employees when it comes to how they feel about their current jobs. After all, numerous reports have surfaced saying as many as 60% of the workforce is open to finding a new job.
Third: Job security is a more abstract concept than things like salary, benefits and paid time off.
What should you do now?
So how exactly can you offer job security if you can’t offer guarantees?
Sejen suggested being open about the company’s financial state (especially if it’s good), and communicating your company’s strategy and vision.