New Research on Attracting Mid-Career Candidates

Finding exceptional talent is about to get harder. According to a new report by the Hinge Research Institute, 30% of mid-career professionals (between 30 to 45 years old) quit their job over the past year. A third of those left without another job lined up.  

Frustration with their boss (76%) and wanting a better company culture (72%) were the top two reasons that mid-career respondents cited for quitting. 

This news may surprise senior executives who fail to recognize the effect that toxic leadership and culture have on their employees. As a talent acquisition professional, you know better. People don’t just leave companies. They leave leaders and the cultures they create.

It doesn’t have to be this way, though. The study uncovered valuable information on why mid-career employees are resigning and how they are looking for new positions.

Understanding Mid-Career Employees

What role do mid-career employees play in your organization? If your company is similar to many organizations, you rely on mid-career employees to solve problems and move projects forward.

Yet this group finds itself in a precarious position. These individuals are accountable for implementing senior management’s strategies and goals. They also carry the burden of creating a supportive, visionary, and fun work environment for their teams. As such, mid-career staff are key to your organization’s success.

So it should be alarming that research shows that only 48% of mid-career respondents are satisfied with their current jobs. And many of these individuals are currently passively or actively looking for new opportunities. 

What factors have been driving mid-career employees to quit their jobs? 

  • 80% were frustrated with leadership/management at their old job
  • 72% desired a better company culture
  • 51% wanted a better work-life balance
  • 48% felt their work was unfulfilling

It’s easy to say that employees are leaving for larger salaries, but findings reveal that only 44% left their jobs for the chance at more money. Instead, let’s look at culture.

What are the signs of a toxic culture? Employees working in toxic company cultures are uncomfortable sharing their thoughts with leadership (94% in the mid-career talent survey). They feel disrespected at work and treated unfairly with regard to their race and gender. They also do not believe they can be their authentic selves at work. 

Consequently, now is the time to assess your organization’s culture and communications and bring senior leadership to the table for candid conversations.

Go Where the Talent Is

How do you put your best foot forward with job seekers? The days of career fairs, webinars, and company-sponsored events are quickly becoming obsolete.

You want to be everywhere with your job postings, but mid-career workers do not leverage some of the employment and recruiting channels that other employee segments do. These individuals rely more on digital channels than networking and recruiters.

So where do you start? 

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Double down on your use of LinkedIn. The study found that 82% of mid-career employees turn to the professional networking platform to find a new position.

Consider how best to optimize your company’s LinkedIn profile to engage job seekers with original content. And don’t forget to look at your senior leadership’s profiles, as well as your own. Job seekers may be attracted to your company, but the caliber of people they may have the chance to work with often seals the deal.

Additionally, mid-career job seekers turn to social media platforms before reaching out to friends and family, even if their connections work at a company they are researching. In fact, nearly two-thirds of them turn to social media, and over half read Glassdoor reviews. It’s therefore crucial to monitor your reputation on social platforms.

Unfortunately, not all senior executives take online reviews seriously, but your company can’t afford to ignore them. Work with your marketing team to monitor negative comments and create a policy for responding to these sentiments. 

Your Most Powerful Recruiting Tool

Potential employees are searching for information to help them make the right career choice. It’s no surprise, then, that it’s common practice today for job seekers to check a company’s website for information about its culture, leadership team, and services in preparation for a job interview. 

Will top candidates be able to find this information on your website? Take a hard look across your entire site, not just your careers page, to see if your content is targeted to this important audience. For example, industry awards don’t matter to job seekers. Instead, they are searching for clues about your company culture and its future.

Let your website tell the story of your company’s culture, values, and expertise. Showcase the projects your teams work on with case studies. Include videos of your leadership. Use compelling and diverse photos of your actual employees in their own spaces, and make sure their voices are part of the story you’re sharing. And don’t forget to highlight benefits that prospective employees find attractive, such as work-life balance.

Ultimately, you won’t be able to go at it alone. Attracting and retaining top talent is no longer the sole job of TA and HR. Consequently, it’s critical to partner with other stakeholders, particularly your marketing department, to create original content and update websites. Because, after all, your competitors are already doing this. 

Lee W. Frederiksen, Ph.D., is managing partner at Hinge, the leading research-based branding and marketing firm for the professional services. Hinge conducts research into high-growth firms and offers a complete suite of services for firms that want to become more visible and grow.

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