8 in 10 Aussies are willing to forgo a pay rise for work perks – here's what they're looking for to sweeten the deal

Australians don’t want to be stuck in an office. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla, Getty Images)
  • As wage growth in Australia continues to slow, workers are looking for companies to offer perks to attract them.
  • From flexible work arrangements and bonus paternity leave to additional training and lifestyle benefits, businesses are having to offer more to recruit and retain talent.
  • As the cost of living continues to outrun pay rises however, Australians might start t

When most people consider a job option, the salary on offer is generally the major consideration. Or is it?

According to the latest survey by recruiter Robert Half, 80% of Australian workers say they’d accept a job with a lower salary if there were work perks attached,

“Australians are really starting to look for and value flexibility and other working arrangements even at the cost of a higher salary,” Robert Half Australia director Andrew Morris told Business Insider Australia.

“They’re seeking out opportunities that don’t just satisfy their salary requirement but also their lifestyle.”

READ MORE: This Australian company introduced a four-day working week and nearly tripled its profits

It comes at the same time that wage growth has gone missing, and pay rises just aren’t as forthcoming as they once were. That in part has helped change Australian attitudes.

“Slow growth hasn’t really accommodated the desire for higher salaries so we’re looking for other solutions to live better on the same income,” Morris said.

“Since 2008, we’ve worked in a steady economy, and people haven’t been able to get the bonus levels, or the salary increases, like they were 10 and 20 years ago in a real bull market. I think that’s changed opinions,” he said.

In other words, the workforce is asking, “if you can’t pay me more, what you give me instead?”

These are the work perks on offer (Source: Robert Half Australia survey)

The research above shows that flexible and remote work conditions were far and away the most popular perk offered to workers.

“It’s all about working smarter, versus working harder and insisting that your employees have to be in the office to get work done when they don’t,” Morris said.

“If you’re able to, offering flexible working arrangements is a great way to retain talent. It might cost a lot of money to get the IT framework in place but it’s going to cost you more if staff keep leaving.”

While not increasing one’s income directly, flexible work can do the next best thing: slash the cost of living.

“Your own cost of transport, from driving the car or catching the train, is going to significantly decrease. That’s not to mention the saving on the excessive cost of childcare,” Morris said.

But it’s not just about the money. Flexible arrangements were followed by health perks like gym memberships, with financial bonuses, extra leave and company phones not far behind. Another big reason Australians want work perks, according to Morris, is simply because they are increasingly looking for a better life, and not just a superior job.

“If you can get out of the office for longer, or avoid a commute by working at home, it can do wonders for your own health and wellbeing and fitness,” Morris said.

“It’s about providing a culture that people want to be part of and making a workplace that they enjoy coming into every day. That filters through the organisation in a way a pay rise doesn’t.”

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