What talent want from their careers in 2020

It’s that time of year again. We’ve released our latest Work Happy Index, the ultimate guide to what makes people at work. We think that to hire the best talent, you first need to understand their motivations. What perks are most important? What qualities make a good employer?

More than 1000 people offered their insights across Ireland, the UK and Canada.  Here are just some of our key findings.

Upskilling is key 

The future of work has arrived and with it better technologies and an ambitious, multi-generational workforce. This workforce understand the need to develop with the same veracity as technology, and are hungry to learn new skills and nurture new talents.

86% of people surveyed say they plan to pursue upskilling or educational opportunities in 2020.

The most popular technical skills talent wish to learn or improve upon are project management and data analysis. In terms of soft skills, research shows that confidence, leadership and communication skills are what talent most want to improve in 2020. 

Employers need to evaluate what growth opportunities they can offer current and potential employees. Rather than financial incentives consider subsidising courses, workshops or conferences. This not only satisfies your employees’ need for growth, it also improves the skills and outputs of your team. Win-win!


Flashy perks are not a priority for passive and active candidates in 2020.  Employers need to move away from games rooms and free beer and concentrate on benefits that really add value. Flexible working hours and health insurance were the most sought after perks by survey respondents.


Research shows that candidates are interested in building their personal brand more than their company one. That means seeking out the opportunities that are of most value to them be it further education or the option to travel. Career pivots and lateral moves will also become more common in 2020 as employees focus on personal development and passion projects. Career progression doesn’t need to be an upward trajectory. People are open to changing location for the right job or company. They are also seeking out companies that offer clear progression opportunities. 70% of respondents feel their current company lacks a clear structure in terms of progression. 

 Download the full #WorkHappy report now.

It’s not (all) about money

Money still matters to talent with a lot of respondents ranking an increase in salary as their number one career ambition for 2020. That said when it came to the markers of a good employer work life balance was listed as most important. As we reach full employment people are expecting greater flexibility in the workplace and the autonomy over their working hours and routines. Here is the breakdown of responses to the question: What makes a good employer?

 Download the full #WorkHappy report now.


Author Aoife Geary

Aoife Geary is the Content Editor at Jobbio specialising in the areas of Workplace Culture, Diversity, Startups and Digital Trends. She's partial to a burrito, a bad pun and living way beyond her means.

More posts by Aoife Geary

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