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The recruitment value of work/life benefits

Lori Foster Thompson (North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA)
Kimberly R. Aspinwall (RTI International, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, USA)

Personnel Review

ISSN: 0048-3486

Article publication date: 6 February 2009




This study sets out to investigate the influence of four work/life benefits on job choice and to examine individual differences that moderate the effects of work/life benefits during recruitment.


Participants (n=125) completed an internet self‐efficacy survey measuring their sense of competence in being able to use the internet effectively. They also filled out a demographic questionnaire and a policy‐capturing survey which asked them to read numerous job descriptions and rate how likely it was that they would accept each job. The levels of four benefits (childcare, telecommuting, eldercare, flextime benefits) varied across job advertisements. Analyses examined the degree to which these four independent variables affected the willingness to accept a job offer.


Childcare benefits influenced the job choices of 58 per cent of the sample. This exceeded the influence of flextime (33 per cent), telecommuting (26 per cent), and eldercare benefits (33 per cent). Childcare attracted women more than men. Internet self‐efficacy predicted the attractiveness of telecommuting.

Research limitations/implications

It is important to consider the degree to which these findings generalize to non‐US job seekers, as well as applicants in more naturalistic settings.

Practical implications

Knowledge of influential work/life benefits (e.g. childcare) can enhance recruitment efforts in a competitive marketplace. Data on variables that moderate the attractiveness of work/life policies will enable organizations to further tailor their benefits to the types of applicants they seek.


In practice, work/life benefits are commonly offered in the hope of recruiting new employees. Yet, little is known about which benefits best attract new graduates. Moreover, research has only begun to examine individual differences that moderate the effect of work/life policies on recruitment outcomes. The present study addresses these gaps in the literature.



Foster Thompson, L. and Aspinwall, K.R. (2009), "The recruitment value of work/life benefits", Personnel Review, Vol. 38 No. 2, pp. 195-210.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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