Job-seekers around the world invariably want to work for companies that can offer them interesting work, regular recognition, good rewards and opportunities for quick promotion.
The research by Accenture has suggested that, wherever they are in the world, job seekers consistently say it is challenges and recognition that provide the greatest motivation when it comes to wanting to get on in corporate life.
But intriguingly, the survey also found that a focus on "corporate citizenship" and diversity was less important to job hunters than traditional benefits such as robust rewards programmes and opportunities for personal growth.
The study of more than 4,100 job seekers in 21 countries in North and South America, Europe and the Asia Pacific region, aimed to identify the most valued career goals of both entry-level and experienced job seekers.
Challenging and interesting work was the most important characteristic that job seekers looked for in prospective employers, selected by 60 per cent of those polled.
The potential for recognition and reward for accomplishments was a close second, cited by 58 per cent. Opportunities for fast career growth came third (44 per cent), followed by evidence that the employer was well established and likely to have long-term prosperity (42 per cent) and being focused on its people (42 per cent).
"Interestingly, we found that what is considered important to potential recruits was remarkably consistent across geographies," said John Campagnino, Accenture global director of recruitment.
"Also notable was the fact that while we know from our own employees that corporate social responsibility and diversity are important employer characteristics – things our employees demand and place high value in – the research also validated what many of us intuitively know: namely, that more tangible benefits such as rewards and recognition are most important from an external recruit's perspective."