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What Candidates Want: Career Progression

Since we were first impacted by a global health pandemic in early 2020, all the normal rules went out the window. The construction industry was turned on its head and we were all forced to work the better part of the year from our living rooms, relying on online video meetings to keep us connected with our colleagues and clients.

We saw mass redundancies, project slow-downs, project cancellations and even some companies close down altogether. With this, came an influx of good candidates flooding the non-existent labour market. Companies introduced hiring freezes, candidates were dropping their salary expectations and a semi-false economy cast a shadow on future hires. Once we hit November/December and Victoria regained some stability and confidence, we saw clients start to hire more liberally and salaries started climbing ever-so-slightly.

Over the last 6 months (January to June 2021), it’s been great observing the construction industry and its resilience. Wages are returning to an almost pre-covid level and projects are moving forward with confidence. Last week, we thought it would be a great idea to find out what would be the primary motivating factor for candidates to move jobs, and to be honest, we were expecting different results. We believed Remuneration and Work From Home / Work-Life Balance would be the top 2 contenders in a semi-post covid world, but we were happily surprised that over 50% of participants voted for Career Progression (closely followed in second place by Remuneration at 22% & a tie for third/fourth place at 14% a piece for WFH/Work-Life Balance & Company Culture).


With many of our careers at a stand-still for the majority of 2020, career progression seemed to be temporarily on hold, but all that’s changed now moving into the second half of 2021. Candidates want to feel valued, and their capabilities validated, which is of course, natural! In the current market, it’s paramount for employers to gain clarity on what their current and future employees are looking for, as well as their career goals. Of course, it’s not simply knowing what they are, but to follow through by fostering & developing those ambitions! 

Of course remuneration will typically go hand in hand with career progression – you can’t have one without the other. It’s important to value employees and have their salaries indicative of their capabilities and experience. Too often you hear of exceptional candidates that are being paid well under market value and think – HOW. We need to stop shying around the topic of salary and encourage dialogue around salaries, bonus, reviews etc and how that fits into new expectations & career progression etc. Aside from the monetary value, we must ask ourselves what exactly is career progression? Is that in the form of training, development, added responsibilities, project exposure, or is it simply a promotion in to a new role?

After putting the poll out to candidates, it was great to see people focusing on their long-term professional goals. We all strive to be better than we were a year, month or even week ago and we should be rewarded for continued hard-work and dedication. 

We’d love to hear your thoughts on career progression and what it looks like to you, so get in touch with us today!

This article was written by Stephanie Atzamoglou – Candidate Manager – 3D Commercial

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