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Benefits - What are candidates looking for in 2024?

By Piers Atkinson, Associate Director

A recurring conversation I have been having with HR and business leaders last year revolved around company benefits. They wanted to know what the competition was offering and how their benefits package compared but unfortunately, I had no quick data, pamphlet, or brochure to hand.

It is at this time of year that Recruitment companies send out salary reports but there is very little actual analysis on benefits packages by companies. I always wondered why and decided to take a look into it myself.

I soon found out the reason for this.

The subject is simply so broad and vast that bringing it together to form actual usable data would be a full-time job that many, including myself, simply don’t have the time or resources to do. So, I dialed things back a bit and started to think about what candidates have been telling me is important to them. I have never had somebody reject an offer due to lack of free pastries on a Friday but what have people been telling me is a non-negotiable for them?​

Job Satisfaction

Candidates are more interested in job satisfaction. After experiencing the uncertainty of 2023, they are more willing to discuss new job roles, but are choosier than ever when it comes to what they are looking for. Increasingly, candidates are less focused on demanding that 15 to 20% increment but more interested in finding out whether the roles will be exciting and challenging for them.

Nobody wants to take the risk of a move to do the same job that they currently do, but in a different building (or even the exact same spot in the case of home working).

As recruiters, it is crucial for you to be able to position your job in the marketplace; telling a Sales Manager they have to sell is obvious, but why should they want to sell for you?

This obviously has certain limits depending on the stage of life / living expenses of a candidate but be open and flexible to look at people who are willing to take a drop in salary for your role.


Flexible Working

There is no denying that the Covid-19 pandemic has changed this for everyone, it used to be rare that a role would involve any work from home but now, it is high on the priority list for a lot of people, even in a country the size of Singapore.

The specific needs and wants vary from person to person but most candidates these days are looking for some element of flexibility when it comes to working arrangements, whether that be set days in the office or complete freedom to choose. If you are a fixed five-day-in-the-office business, there will be some people who will not want to work for you.

There are obviously some anomalies to this for certain roles, as it is quite hard to set up your own laboratory or manufacturing facility at home.

Progression / Career Development

Progression and career development has always been high on candidate’s priority lists but now they are looking for much more detail in the answers. These days, talking about possible promotion pathways is not enough. Candidates want to know exactly what they have to do to achieve progression and what the expected timelines are for this process.

Statements such as “we are a growing company” and so forth hold little weight. “You are growing? Great! But how will that impact me?”

If you do not have this plan in place at best, they will come to work for you and be tempted away in a couple of years. At worst, you won’t even get them through the door.


Medical Benefits

It is evident that the cost of medical insurance and medical provision is increasing. This impacts all potential employees but especially so for those with families.

I have been noticing that I have been getting asked more often about the specifics of medical benefits. Who is the provider? What is covered? Is it a co-pay arrangement?

With a lot of companies this isn’t the easiest thing to change, but if your insurance policy is not great, be upfront about it from the start and be prepared to add in additional monetary benefits to help cover that cost. This will help to avoid heartbreak at the offer stage.



There is no getting away from the fact that money is still a big, critical pull factor. You are not going to get Director-level candidates at fresh graduate prices because you offer all the above.

Ultimately, gym memberships, a free lunch once in a blue moon and offering 18 days of annual leave are not going to be the deciding factor on whether a candidate wants to join your business or not, they are more like the cherry on top of a sundae. The 4 factors I listed above are going to have a much bigger impact on people’s interest in your business.

How you deliver that message, particularly around job satisfaction and progression is a topic for another day.

If you are interested in discussing any of the aforementioned points or are struggling to find the people you need to grow your business, please get in touch with us.  

Piers Atkinson
Associate Director, Life Sciences

Piers specialising in recruiting for roles across technical and commercial positions, partnering with Pharmaceutical, Medical Device and Biotech Clients across Southeast Asia.

​With over 10 years of experience in the Life Science space, he has placed people across the globe in Singapore, US, Hong Kong, UK, Europe, Malaysia and Australia. His track record includes a mix of large MNCs and exciting new start-ups that at the time people wouldn’t have heard of.