Benefits tech platform conceptWhile career development has become increasingly important,Jobvite's survey respondents continue to rank some traditionalbenefits as “essential.” (Image: Shutterstock)

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For the first time since Jobvite began surveying workers and jobseekers, money takes a back seat to career growth, according to the2019 Job Seeker Nation Survey.

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Career growth opportunities now rank number one (61 percent) onthe list of most important factors when looking for newopportunities–surpassing the traditional first priorities, compensation (57 percent) andhealthcare/retirement benefits (58 percent). This was especiallytrue for younger workers (65 percent), while those who areunemployed are less likely to prioritize career growth (51percent).

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For those who left their jobs in the last 12 months, however,only 17 percent say money was the reason they sought greenerpastures.

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Related: More professionals prefer promotions toraises

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Men are more likely than women to consider growth within acompany one of the most important factors when looking for newopportunities (66 percent vs. 57 percent), while women place morevalue on flexible hours and remote work (29 percent vs. 39percent).

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Jobvite's findings should alert employers to revamp their careerpath programs if they are found to be lacking, according toHRDive.

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“Talent professionals might consider how continuous careerdevelopment check-ins and learning and development programs canhelp retain employees who desire a path forward,” HRDive writes.“Though it can be difficult to find a program that satisfiesworkers' personal desires for growth while serving an employer'sbusiness goals, it's worth remembering that collaborative learningand self-guided learning resonates with talent.”

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While career development has become increasingly important,Jobvite's survey respondents continue to rank some traditionalbenefits as “essential” – health plans (72 percent), 401(k) program(52 percent) and 401(k) matching (42 percent). Slightly lesscritical on the essential list: bonuses and stipends (39 percent),parental leave (30 percent), casual dress code (30 percent) andremote work (16 percent).

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As for perks that respondents would like but aren't dealbreakers if not offered, free snacks or meals top that list (50percent), casual dress code (34 percent), cell phone and internetsubsidies (30 percent), pet-friendly office (26 percent), paidfamily leave (23 percent), remote work (25 percent) and aneducation subsidy (20 percent).

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Other key findings include:

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– Nearly half (45 percent) of job seekers say it's harder tofind a job than last year, but an increased number of job seekers(20 percent) also said it's easier finding work.

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– More than half (59 percent) of survey respondents whocurrently work part-time say they're looking for full-time work andare considered “employed.”

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– Employed workers can use professional networks to find thatnext opportunity versus those who are unemployed (38 percent vs. 18percent).

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– The college-educated (62 percent), city workers (53 percent),and those already employed (53 percent) are the most likely tocontinue their education and “upskill.”

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– Candidates who drop out during the application process aremost likely to do so after an in-person interview (15 percent).

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– More than a quarter (29 percent) of workers have at some pointleft a job within the first 90 days, most often (45 percent)because the day-to-day role was not what they expected.

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– Two-thirds (64 percent) of workers who received a text messageafter applying for a job preferred this type of communication overemail or phone call.

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Katie Kuehner-Hebert

Katie Kuehner-Hebert is a freelance writer based in Running Springs, Calif. She has more than three decades of journalism experience, with particular expertise in employee benefits and other human resource topics.