Why some Swiss candidates are refusing job offers

Why some Swiss candidates are refusing job offers

Candidates in Switzerland currently have the upper hand. Switzerland’s economy is now on the rebound as the pandemic draws to a close.

13 July 2021

Now this may surprise you. Candidates in Switzerland currently have the upper hand. Switzerland’s economy is now on the rebound as the pandemic draws to a close. Pent-up demand and the build up of savings are waiting to be unleashed after 18 months of lockdowns and restrictions.

Swiss companies therefore need to prepare as quickly as they can, ahead of this rapid post-pandemic boost in economic activity. 

Consequently, there is an even greater demand for talented candidates than normal. Ironically, many candidates are now more reluctant to move jobs. So, let’s take a look at why this is happening and how this is leading to job offers being declined.

The needs of candidates are changing

The pandemic has been very disruptive. There is still a lot of hesitancy among highly skilled and talented workers to move roles due to the uncertainty the pandemic has caused. For many, career advancement right now might not be their immediate priority.

In addition to this, talented candidates are also reassessing their needs. This includes thinking carefully about what they really want in their next role.

For instance, when the pandemic arrived, workers were suddenly forced to experience working from home. While some hated it, many others discovered the benefits of working flexibly. 

For instance, you could go for a jog in the mid-afternoon, pick your child up from school (after the schools opened up), or spend more time caring for your pets.

Candidates want flexible working

Nearly every candidate that I speak to now enquires about flexible working. It has become a “must have” feature for an employment package. For instance, some of the candidates I’m meeting are searching for a new role because their employer wants them to be in the office 100 percent.

Most neither want to work 100 percent in the office, nor 100 percent at home. But they do want the flexibility to choose when and how they work. This is a poll I ran on LinkedIn a few months ago. The sweet spot is 2-3 days a week in the office.

So, what can we draw from this? I believe that despite the tough stance some CEOs have adopted on remote working, they will have little choice but to offer flexible working. This is the future of work.

So, if flexible working becomes the norm, companies will need to offer something significantly better if they want to attract top talent. It is the main reason why so many job offers are now being refused in Switzerland. If your current employer is already offering flexible working, then why move if that’s all you want?

For those candidates that do move, they have more choice than ever to pick and choose who they want to work for. We are seeing candidates receive multiple offers from what they previously considered "dream" companies prior to the pandemic. Ultimately, they can only pick one, which means that they will have to reject the other offers. 

What should companies do to attract candidates?

There are several options beyond flexible working:

1. Improve working conditions

This might include fresh fruit bowls, canteens that serve healthy meals and gym memberships. It could also include dry-cleaning services, physiotherapists, and high-quality coffee shops. Or it could be as simple as offering bigger desks or more natural sunlight in the office.

2. Offer candidates a future

Show them a career path within the company. Demonstrate that the company is willing to invest in them by offering them opportunities to reskill or upskill to help future proof their careers.

3. Offer more choice on flexible working

Rather than mandate that they need to be in the office 2-3 days a week, employers should leave it up to workers to decide professionally how many days they need to be in. They could even give them the flexibility to decide where they want to work, whether that might be in the office, at home or in a co-working space near their home.

Honestly, the possibilities are endless. This is what's needed to not only attract candidates, but also persuade them not to refuse the job offers made.

My advice is to listen to the needs of candidates before making a formal offer. It saves a lot of time and effort when recruiting.