While remuneration remains a crucial factor for employees, work-provided perks that help them reduce personal spending are increasingly becoming a desirable alternative to higher salaries.
Employment Hero, together with YouGov Galaxy, polled 1,001 employees – all permanent staff members, with a mixture of full and part-time – to identify what matters most to them in terms of rewards, perks and remuneration, and to break down the popularity of common employer tools by demographics.
The results were then presented in Employment Hero’s Insights Report.
According to the report, pay and remuneration remain the chief concern for jobseekers (63 per cent), followed by the location and ease of their commute (52 per cent).
Flexible working arrangements were the third most popular factor, but less than half (42 per cent) considered this one of their key criteria when searching for a new job.
Interestingly, while remuneration remains the biggest single factor for people looking for a new job, it is not the top reason why employees subsequently leave.
Instead, the findings reinforce the old adage that “people don’t leave companies, they leave managers”.
A dislike of the business culture was revealed as the main driver of staff turnover (59 per cent), while antipathy for the management style and/or superiors ranked as a close second (58 per cent).
Remuneration was the third main reason for departures, at 51 per cent.
Employers well-placed to support financial wellbeing
When asked what measures they would like to see from their employers, flexible working arrangements was a clear winner, with 59 per cent of workers nominating this as a desirable incentive.
But the report identified a number of other non-monetary measures employers can use to stand out as a desirable workplace – most of which help to offset the rising cost of living.
“A whopping 52 per cent of all workers admit they have had difficulty meeting all of their financial commitments, with power bills (15 per cent) and credit card balances (11 per cent) providing the biggest problems,” the report said.
“The increased popularity of workplace benefits, especially those that offer monetary perks, can be linked to the state of employees’ financial health.”
Such measures enable employees to save money, without the employer having to directly contribute higher salaries and the associated increased costs.
It found that 32 per cent of employees would welcome discounts on electricity, gas and water; 29 per cent would benefit from petrol discounts; 27 per cent saw merit in free meals; and 26 per cent in supermarket discounts. Subsidised or discounted gym memberships, massages and yoga classes were also proposed by one-quarter of employees.
Other popular desires among employees include mental wellness initiatives (26 per cent) and continued training and education (30 per cent).
Ways employers can foster financial wellbeing
By the very fact that employers have to juggle numbers and money on a daily basis, there is a great deal of skills and experience they can share with their teams.
The report suggested that as well as discounts and freebies on various lifestyle essentials, some of the most powerful assistance employers could provide to their staff are:
- Free financial advisory services
- Assistance in creating personal and household budgets
- Simple advice on how to save for and reach financial goals
Tailor benefits to individual workers
Far from being a one-size-fits-all approach, employers may do well to tailor the type of benefits and incentives they provide to individual members of staff.
According to the report, high income earners (those on greater than $90,000) are much more loyal to employers who pay well, followed by those who have friendly co-workers.
Surprisingly though, pay was not among the top three factors driving loyalty from low income earners (those on less than $40,000).
Instead, this demographic are driven much more strongly by the social aspects, with friendly co-workers and feeling appreciated their most desired aspects of a job.
There are also discrepancies around age when it comes to clashing with superiors or the management style of the company.
While often labelled disloyal and fickle, millennials were actually found to be far less likely to seek new employment than baby boomers where such conflicts arise (46 per cent to 70 per cent, respectively).
Younger workers were also found to be far more likely to be influenced by added benefits and perks than older generations.
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.