Location, location, location: Why where a job is located can be as important as the salary

According to a survey by Adecco, call centre workers rate location over any other aspect when choosing an employer. Nearly half (47%) of call centre workers questioned said location was their top priority, followed by career opportunities (43%) and pay rate (39%).

So are job searches across other sectors following a similar pattern – is it all about location, location, location?

Rebecca Clake, adviser at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), said employment priorities often varied between individuals rather than particular sectors.

“However, what tends to come out top when we conduct research is that work is interesting and challenging,” she says.

Indeed, the CIPD’s survey Graduates in the Workplace 2006 that although almost two-thirds rated location as important, it came well below other factors such happiness (97%), career development (97%), training opportunities (94%) and salary (86%).

Anne Marie Forsyth, chief executive at call centre trade body the Customer Contact Association, said the reason location was ranked by call centre employees so highly could be down to the high number of workers who have caring responsibilities.

“Call centres can offer good flexible working and tend to attract a lot of carers who can fit their hours around their caring responsibilities,” she said. “If flexible working is a priority, the chances are you don’t want to add a long commute to your day.”

Temporary tendency

Narelle Lester, managing director of recruiter to the creative sector Regan and Dean, said location also tended to be a priority for temporary workers.

“It is a definite driving force for our temps, as they usually opt for the convenience of working close to home,” she said. “Candidates seeking permanent office support roles are more likely to travel to find work in their chosen sector.”

The seniority of the position also has an impact.

“Less experienced candidates will be happy to relocate to gain experience in their desired sector; whereas people seeking more senior roles, although tempted by salary and job content, are less likely to move because of family ties and quality of life considerations,” Lester added.

When looking at particular sectors, Lester said other drivers tended to be more prominent.

“In the events industry we find workers are willing to travel to find the job that suits their skills set, fuels their creativity and provides job satisfaction. While in marketing, experience level seems to be a major factor when choosing an employer.”

The only building that really counts

In the engineering and technical sector, the chance to build skills comes top of candidates’ lists, according to David Leyshon, managing director of technical recruiter, CBS Butler.

“Involvement in leading-edge projects and stimulating ‘boffin’ challenges rank very high with technical professionals during their early careers,” he explained. “Engineers are keen to work to enhance their CV and place a real value on building and refreshing their skill base,” he says.

Career progression also comes out high with office workers.

Jo Stuteley, UK director of office support recruiter La Crème, said: “Secretaries rate career progression as the highest priority when looking for a new position, followed by working environment. And PAs rate the relationship with their boss as being the most important factor – they want a boss who communicates well and has respect for them.”

So although location may not be the top priority for all workers, neither is pay. And if employers want to attract the best talent and keep hold of them, they need to look further than postcode and salary to understand what really ticks employees’ boxes.

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