Aussie workers willing to sacrifice pay for flexible work arrangements

The latest People at Work 2022: A Global Workforce View report by ADP Research Institute reveals that Australian workers are placing a more significant emphasis on flexibility in their working lives, more so than the compensation.

In fact, while workers still say pay is the most important factor in a job, the research found that 48 per cent of them would accept a pay cut if it meant improving their work-life balance that would provide them more flexibility or control over their working lives.

The report highlights the fact that that six in 10 workers want more flexibility in their working time, such as compressing hours down into fewer, longer days and 41 per cent are willing to take a pay cut to guarantee flexibility in how they structure their hours even if the total hours worked did not change. It also reveals that 62 per cent of workers have contemplated making a major career move in the past year, with flexibility being a significant factor.

Despite the significant numbers favouring flexibility, the survey notes that, thus far, the four-day working week arrangement has only been offered to nine per cent of Australians.

“Many of our long-held beliefs about working have been upended,” Kylie Baullo, Managing Director, Australia and New Zealand, at ADP said,. “While the onus remains on employers to create an attractive working environment, which encourages employees to stay, the hiring market is highly competitive at the moment. This is a strong indication that business leaders must consider what employees value and be open-minded and accommodating in negotiation.

“Businesses should allow themselves to think creatively to align organisational goals with the shifts in employee expectations,” Baullo added. “New arrangements, such as the four-day work week, have yet to be widely adopted in Australia. But these have the potential to be advantageous for both employers and employees. Such arrangements would previously have been dismissed, but now they are an example of real-world change caused by shifting worker priorities and astute business leaders.”

Baullo said that while pay continues to be a high priority for many, flexibility and work-life balance are increasingly important organisational features that are sought after in both the Australian and global hiring markets.

“Acknowledging, understanding, and addressing these priorities is now vital for successful businesses looking to retain their core talent and help them thrive,” Baullo concluded.