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Employer of Choice?

With the unemployment rate at a five-year low and job openings figures at a five-year high, employers are competing with each other for talented workers. To attract the best employees -- and to keep the ones they already have -- many companies hype themselves as being an "employer of choice." They promise candidates benefits like career coaching, in-house childcare centers, and flexible work schedules. But a recent survey conducted by human resources firm Chandler Macleod for the Australian Human Resources Institute reveals that many companies fail to provide the enhanced benefits they advertise. And some companies that do deliver such benefits chastise workers who ask to take advantage of them.

Of the nearly 2,200 job candidates who took part in the survey, one in four reported being a victim of a past employer's broken promises. What's more, 15 percent said an employer unfairly penalized them for trying to take advantage of publicized benefits, while 26 percent said they knew someone penalized for requesting a benefit. Not surprisingly, 52 percent of the surveyed job seekers said they are rarely or never attracted to an organization that touts itself as an employer of choice.

The survey results are "a bit of a wake up call for HR professionals about what they are doing day-to-day," says David Reynolds, Chandler Macleod's executive general manager. But are job candidates hearing the alarm?

I find that job seekers today are paying less attention to a potential employer's fringe benefits and closer attention to the organization's integrity. When companies recruit workers by making empty promises that they have no intention of keeping, it's an early indication that the organization lacks integrity. So if your employer of choice fails to fulfill on its promises, I suggest you choose again.

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