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Forget the company car - laptops are the best perk

May 19 2005 - A survey of 994 outplaced employees and managers by global career services company Lee Hecht Harrison found that far more of today's job hunters want to receive a laptop than a company car from their next employer. Respondents were asked to indicate up to nine perks, programs and discretionary benefits they hoped to get in their next job. Four out of five respondents said "laptop and/or other technology," putting that option just ahead of "ongoing training opportunities" (77%). "Use of company car" came way behind (28 percent) in popularity.

"A company car is a nice perk, but it really doesn't do anything for one's career," observes Judy Kneisley, senior vice president and general manager of Lee Hecht Harrison's Woodland Hills office. "Today's job seekers are much more interested in programs and benefits that will enhance their professional capabilities and allow them more flexibility in terms of when and how they work. Laptops and other technologies, for instance, enable people to access information and get work done from almost anyplace they might be. Likewise, ongoing training opportunities allow employees to continually develop new skills so that they remain valuable and employable regardless of changes in the world of work."

Kneisley notes that the trend away from perks and towards more pragmatic benefits had already begun in 2003, when Lee Hecht Harrison last conducted this survey in a comparable population. In 1999, when the company first asked job seekers what they want from their next employer, health club membership (58%) was the most common response, followed by flextime (57%) and use of a company car (53%).

Job hunters' preferences have changed but their expectations of what they will actually receive largely have not. "Even with the booming economy of the late '90s, few job seekers thought they were likely to get the high-end perks they desired. The big surprise today is that fewer respondents than in prior years think they will receive such benefits as ongoing training opportunities or flextime," says Kneisley. She adds that, "Employers seeking to attract talent as the labor market tightens should emphasize these programs that job seekers want but don't expect. It's a good way to stand out from competitors."


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