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73% of Australian employees value flexible working, Hays reveals

Almost three-quarters (73%) of Australian workers would like a job offering flexible work practices, with career progression opportunities (72%) and ongoing learning & development (59%) also important when job searching, according to a survey by Hays conducted for the annual Hays Salary Guide.

These rank ahead of more than 20 days’ annual leave (28%), health and wellness programs (15%), financial support for study (12%) and payment of usage charges for employee-owned devices at work (8%).

As for the benefits employees say they receive, 70% get flexible work practices, 56% ongoing learning & development and 45% career progression opportunities.

Less popular offerings are health and wellness programs (36%), over 20 days’ annual leave (32%), financial support for study (30%), payment of usage charges for employee-owned devices at work (25%), free or subsidised food (20%), a day off for your birthday (7%) and onsite childcare (3%).

Nick Deligiannis, managing director of Hays in Australia & New Zealand, said, “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.

Flexible work practices is the number one benefit professionals want (73%) and receive (70%), but just 45% of employees are ‘very satisfied’ or ‘extremely satisfied’ with their current level of work-life balance.

Deligiannis commented, “An organisation that doesn’t offer flexible working options is now in the minority and this has an obvious impact on attraction and retention.

“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%), part-time employment (75%) and flex-place, such as working from home or an alternative location (66%). Less common are flexible leave options, such as purchased leave (38%), job sharing (31%), career breaks (18%) and phased retirement (16%).

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