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Salary, benefits gap growing between employers and employees

By Shannon Williams, Tue 15 Jun 2021

Employees are dissatisfied with their current working benefits, as salary increases are set to be minimal in 2021. 

According to the FY21/22 Hays Salary Guide, the value of salary increases this year will be less than skilled professionals believe their performance is worth, creating a salary expectation gap between employers and employees. 

“With the value of salary increases set to be minimal, reviewing and rolling out additional benefits can help bridge the salary expectation gap, allowing employers to reward staff when they don’t have the salary budget to do so,” says Nick Deligiannis, managing director of Hays in Australia & New Zealand.

“The challenges of the past year prompted many skilled professionals to pause and consider what they truly value in their life and career," he says. 

"As a result, certain benefits have become increasingly important to staff attraction and can help an employer stand out from others to secure the top talent.

“With most employees dissatisfied with their current benefits, there is also an urgent need for organisations to review packages to retain top talent.”

According to the report, regular flexible work practices, career progression opportunities and training are the top three non-financial benefits employees want when looking for a new job. 

Regular flexible working is the top benefit employees now want, nominated by 79% of respondents. This includes flexible working hours, location of work or working practices. 

More than half (52%) want career progression opportunities, and 50% want internal or external training. 

Ongoing learning and development (44%), more than 20 days of annual leave (30%) and mental health and wellness programs (20%) are also valued. 

Underscoring the importance of flexible working to candidate attraction and retention, well over half (57%) of today’s office-based professionals say they’ll look for a role offering hybrid working when they next job search.

Meanwhile, 43% of employees who are currently looking or planning to look for a new job in the next 12 months say a lack of promotional opportunities is the main reason behind their job search. No wonder, then, that career progression, development and training are highly valued benefits by skilled professionals today.

The Hays Salary Guide also found that employers have offered new benefits to employees over the past year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Providing hardware to support remote working, such as headsets, computer monitors and printers, was at the top of the list, offered by 58% of employers. 

Meanwhile, 53% provided staff with laptops, 32% provided a desk and chair for use at home, 22% gave additional days off work for wellbeing and 21% allocated budget for staff to buy their own home office supplies. 

Just 18% paid or contributed towards the cost of WiFi.  

The Hays Salary Guide is based on a survey of close to 3,500 organisations and more than 3,800 skilled professionals.

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