Australians prefer flexible working conditions to pay rises

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Australians, unlike most of their colleagues around the world, place a higher value on the flexibility of working conditions than on pay.

Work/life balance has for some time been the number one driver for Australian employees on the lookout for career opportunities, according to the Global Talent Monitor survey from best practice insight and technology company, CEB.

However, the latest quarterly survey shows for the first time that work/life balance is now also a key reason Australians will leave a job.

It’s so important that most would choose flexible working over pay when looking for a new employer.

Average pay rises, currently at a low of 1.87% a year, are little motivation.

“Long commutes, unachievable housing prices and expensive child-care costs have forced Australians to re-evaluate how they can manage their personal and professional aspirations,” says Aaron McEwan, HR advisory leader, CEB.

“Work/life balance is so important to Australians that they would willingly trade it over money, holidays and development opportunities offered by any prospective or current employer.

“A lack of flexibility won’t be tolerated by a work force that knows sophisticated technology and remote connectivity could enable them to achieve their workplace KPIs from any location.”

Here’s how Australian workers compare to international colleagues on what keeps them in a job:

Source: Q4 2016 Global Talent Monitor.

McEwan says Australian employers must pioneer flexible working options or face increased turnover and lower productivity.

The CEB data shows workers are confident about their chances of finding a new job. Optimism in the job market increased by 2.5% in the fourth quarter of 2016.

At the same time, the growing number of dissatisfied employees has had a notable impact on effort levels, which fell 1.5%, continuing a six-year downward trend.

McEwan suggests employers create an environment where employees can freely speak about what motivates them, and what doesn’t.

“It’s not just work/life balance that is important to Australian employees, future career opportunities and people management rank highly too,” he says.

“There are number of steps employers can take to review their employee value proposition, and make sure they’re on the same page as employees.”

CEB’s global labor market survey is made up of more than 22,000 employees in 40 countries.

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