A survey by Hays for their annual salary guide has found almost three-quarters (73 per cent) of Australian workers would like a job offering flexible work practices, with career progression opportunities (72 per cent) and ongoing learning and development (59 per cent). These rank ahead of more than 20 days’ annual leave (28 per cent), health and wellness programmes (15 per cent), financial support for study (12 per cent) and payment of usage charges for employee-owned devices at work (eight per cent).
As for the benefits employees say they receive, 70 per cent get flexible work practices, 56 per cent ongoing learning and development and 45 per cent career progression opportunities.
Less popular offerings are health and wellness programmes (36 per cent), over 20 days’ annual leave (32 per cent), financial support for study (30 per cent), payment of usage charges for employee-owned devices at work (25 per cent), free or subsidised food (20 per cent), a day off for your birthday (seven per cent) and onsite childcare (three per cent).
“With salary increases set to be even more restrained this year, the benefits an organisation offers will help to attract and retain top talent, particularly if they support career advancement,” says Nick Deligiannis, managing director of Hays in Australia & New Zealand.
Flexible work practices is the number one benefit professionals want (73 per cent) and receive (70 per cent), but just 45 per cent of employees are ‘very satisfied’ or ‘extremely satisfied’ with their current level of work/life balance.
“An organisation that doesn’t offer flexible working options is now in the minority and this has an obvious impact on attraction and retention,” says Nick. “You can get back in the game to compete for the top talent by reviewing and implementing policies in this area, such as staggered start and finish times.”
According to the survey, the most common flexible working practices employers offer are flexible working hours and compressed working weeks (77 per cent), part-time employment (75 per cent) and flex-place, such as working from home or an alternative location (66 per cent). Less common are flexible leave options, such as purchased leave (38 per cent), job sharing (31 per cent), career breaks (18 per cent) and phased retirement (16 per cent).