Flexibility more important than pay

Flexibility more important than pay for Australian employees

New research by insight and technology company CEB showing Australian employees will abandon organisations that don’t offer flexible working conditions, places employers under pressure to evolve and adapt to ensure they can attract and retain the most talented staff.

Work/life balance has been the number one driver of attraction for employees on the lookout for new career opportunities, since 2011, according to the CEB’s Global Talent Monitor. Now for the first time, it is also a key driver of attrition, meaning that employees will actively leave an organisation if it does not fulfil their work/life balance needs.

CEB HR Advisor Aaron McEwan says 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.

“In fact, 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,” says Mr McEwan.

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

The reality is, we are already living in Australia’s future of work, and organisations must find a way to accommodate work/life balance needs,” adds Mr McEwan.

Mr McEwan says Australian employers should not ignore these results and should use the findings as an excuse to research and pioneer flexible working options.

“The pressure for employees to ‘have it all’ and balance home and work commitments has created two significant challenges for employers. Not only will their talent leave if they aren’t offered flexible conditions, but the number of disenchanted workers will continue to rise,” continues Mr McEwan.


CEB’s data reveals workers are confident about their chances to find a new role – optimism in the job market increased by 2.5 per cent in Q4 2016. At the same time, the growing number of dissatisfied employees has had a notable impact on effort levels, which fell 1.5 per cent, continuing a six-year downward trend.

Mr McEwan says that employers must create an environment where employees can freely speak about what motivates them – and what doesn’t – when it comes to their job. This will help close the gap between employee/employer expectations and offer organisations a glimpse into the minds of their workforce.

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

CEB recommends the following steps for employers looking to reassess their employee value proposition (EVP) in an effort to attract and retain top talent:

  • Define the EVP: Start with an evaluation of the current EVP then identity the drivers that will attract and retain talent needed to achieve strategic business goals.
  • Redesign the EVP to align with business and talent needs: Include the key criteria that will appeal to prospective candidates and employee segments that are most critical to the business.
  • Deliver on the promise: Communicate openly about the EVP – and live up to it – with prospective and current employees in order to ensure authenticity and to foster employee loyalty.


Visit the Global Talent Monitor to learn more.