Continuous candidates: why are there so many?

There’s a bit of a stigma around job hopping. Many an employer has dismissed a candidate because they quickly moved from one job to the next. But now, the tide’s turning. So much so, that our research found that 30% of employees in the UK are continuous candidates. They’re always on the lookout for their next career move.

In the next few years, continuous candidates will become more prominent in the workplace. So employers need to fully understand what makes them tick if they’re going to attract and keep them. To get under the skin of this new mindset, you first need to know where it originates from. Let’s take a look at a few potential origins:

Emergence of the gig economy

The so-called ‘gig economy’ is dominating the media at the moment. And for good reasons – it’s redefining how people work. People aren’t shackled to a 9 to 5 job anymore. The gig economy gives them to flexibility to dictate when and how they want to work. They can craft a career that works around their life – not the other way around.

The downside of working in the gig economy, is the reduced job security. Whether you’re working via Uber, Airbnb, or TaskRabbit – there’s no guarantee as to when the next job will come along. You have to have your wits about you, be proactive, and search for new opportunities. It’s no wonder its given rise to continuous candidates.

Job security

Looking at the wider employment landscape, the last few years have been turbulent. For example, the global recession and uneven recovery transformed the employment landscape.

During the recession, job losses and layoffs dominated the world’s front pages. And it’s left its mark. It’s imparted a message that job security is not guaranteed anymore. You may be secure in your role today, but who knows what’s around the corner? Cautious candidates are hedging their bets, and keeping their eye on the jobs market – just in case.

Lack of access to quality jobs

More than a third of UK jobseekers told us that their biggest career challenge is a lack of access to quality jobs. That being the case, continuous candidates might be looking to improve their employment situation. This could resonate most with the unemployed, under-employed, or those people seeking greater stability.

Furthermore, candidates have access to more information about job vacancies than ever before. Often, individuals don’t even have to look for a new role – they’re pushed directly at them.

Employers could be encouraging continuous candidates too

The opportunity to advance in their role is increasingly important for candidates. They want to know up-front what opportunities for advancement are available.

Fail to meet candidates’ advancement expectations and they’ll certainly find it somewhere else. Employers must offer this information upfront, in a variety of locations and interactions—and not wait for candidates to ask.

Read our new whitepaper Always Looking: The Rise of the Continuous Candidate to find out more about the continuous candidate mindset, and for practical recommendations on ways to attract and retain in-demand talent.