If you’re recruiting, you know how important it is to attract a wide range of the best candidates. If you’ve been following our blogs and resources on the subject, you’ll also know that reaching a variety of different people is vital for getting the different perspectives and inputs that you need to drive innovation and success in your organisation.

But when it comes to encouraging people to join a company, we see so many businesses focusing on the same thing – money.

A lot of job ads will lead with the salary and the perks, thinking that this will dazzle job hunters. Still more hide or obscure the salary behind words like “competitive” or “negotiable” to either hide that the salary is not great because they think that will put people off, or because they’re worried about how candidates will view them against competitors and they want to try to negotiate as low as possible.

Yet, although a huge number of job seekers are put off by salary secrecy in job ads, money isn’t actually the main criteria in choosing a job.

Sure, everyone wants to be paid fairly and reasonably for the work that they do, and everyone wants to be able to live a comfortable lifestyle. But, as long as potential new recruits know that their needs will be met, there are many other factors that they consider far more important than money.

How to attract candidates to your organisation

The things candidates for your job really care about are more to do with job satisfaction, work/life balance, fulfilment and belonging. More than half of British workers are unhappy in their jobs. Given that we spend a third of our lives at work, most of us being miserable when we get there explains why the average British person thinks about quitting their job 16 times a year.

So if you want to attract, and retain, a diverse and talented workforce, these are the things they really want.

Mission and values

60% of people changing jobs are seeking a better fit with their values and 93% of employees say that it’s important that their company maintains high ethical standards. 74% of millennials think that a company is more innovative when the culture is more inclusive, and 69% of Gen Z say they are more likely to want to stay at a company with a diverse workforce.

Showing clearly what your values are, how you live them and demonstrating a clear commitment to meaningful actions to support those values are a huge draw for job seekers.

Work/life balance

Staff are increasingly prioritising their wellbeing, as our always-on culture is demanding more and more from workers. A third of staff want flexible hours, and 20% are willing to take a substantial hit in pay to get them. Whilst most job seekers couldn’t care less about benefits like “beer fridge Fridays” and table tennis tables, they are keen for tangible support for their wellness with benefits like health insurance, gym memberships and mental health tools.

Supporting your staff’s wellbeing and taking a flexible approach to work that will fit into the variety of lifestyles we all now have will go along way to attracting top talent. Plus staff sickness and presenteeism cost the UK economy more than £77 billion each year, so there’s something in it for you too.

Support and security

Life is full of ups and downs, and the last few years have seen some intense upheavals and uncertainties. Providing staff with a sense of security and protection for the changes life might throw at them is hugely attractive. 31% of UK adults will be relying on the state pension when they retire, so a good pension scheme is a huge benefit to offer. 36% of UK workers say their employer doesn’t do enough to support new parents, and 54,000 women lose their jobs in the UK every year because of pregnancy or maternity. Demonstrating that you have a range of policies to support life changes and showcasing the staff that you have supported through those changes will go along way to making potential new recruits feel that they can trust you with their future career.


Everyone wants to feel that the work they are doing serves a purpose. Whether you are toiling in the kitchen at a fast food restaurant or performing brain surgery, you want to understand how your individual efforts contribute to the wider vision and how they impact on the people the organisation serves. 77% of people say that self-respect is a key driver of happiness. And if you know that you are contributing to something bigger than yourself, you want to be appreciated for that. 80% of workers value being appreciated in a job – whereas only 58% said that salary was of high importance. 79% cite lack of appreciation as their reason for leaving their job, so it really does matter.

Being clear on the purpose of your organisation and how the role you are advertising relates to that, and publicly appreciating and celebrating your employees for new candidates to see will go along way to encouraging people to apply for that role.

So stop focusing on what the salary is that you’re offering. More people care that it is fair and equitable than that it is higher than they could get from a competitor – if you are out-performing the competitor on the above criteria. If you put more energy into creating a positive working environment than into trying to hide your salaries, you’ll attract a much higher quality of diverse candidates, and you’ll keep them all motivated and engaged for years to come.

If you want support to design a recruitment strategy that attracts a broader range of people, get in touch.