As the competition for skilled professionals intensifies in 2023, Australian workers are calling for a broader range of corporate perks that go beyond traditional benefits.
These new perks include wellness packages, financial discounts, and access to their earned wages on demand, all of which are seen as essential for retaining top talent.
According to KPMG’s annual survey of Australian business leaders, 77 per cent of senior executives believe that attracting and retaining talent will be the biggest challenge of the year. In response to this, many employers are rethinking their traditional benefits packages and exploring new, innovative ways to attract and retain the best employees.
This includes offering flexible working arrangements, opportunities for upskilling and professional development, and a broader range of perks that cater to the diverse needs of today’s workforce.
As the competition for top talent in Australia continues to grow, companies prioritising employee well-being and offering attractive perks and benefits are more likely to attract and retain skilled professionals, ultimately driving business success in 2023 and beyond.
“Australia is currently experiencing its tightest labour market in nearly 50 years, so employees currently have the upper hand in demanding extra benefits,” says Paytime CEO Steven Furman.
“Companies who don’t think ahead and outside the box when it comes to employee perks are going to get left behind in the battle for the best talent,” he says.
Mr Furman sets out the top 5 perks employees are looking for in 2023:
Flexible work hours
The pandemic has highlighted the importance of work-life balance, and employees are increasingly seeking flexible work arrangements such as remote work, flexible hours, and job-sharing options.
“Part of living in a pro-wellbeing society is employees want the freedom to create a working schedule that encourages balance,” says Mr Furman,
“They’re no longer interested in being restricted to a 9-5 routine and instead want to have the freedom to for example be able to attend to a personal matter in the middle of the day and make up the hours at night.”
“Offering flexibility can be a deciding factor in somebody accepting a job offer,” he says.
Time in Lieu
In recent years, there has been a significant shift in the way people view their time and the value they place on it. The rise of social media and other digital platforms has led to the emergence of new trends and cultural movements, including the “act your wage” trend.
The “act your wage” trend is all about encouraging individuals to live within their means and not feel pressured to work excessive hours in order to maintain a certain lifestyle.
“The ‘act your wage’ trend on social platforms has seen a total shift in the mindset when it comes to working overtime,” says Mr Furman.
“Previously, individuals felt they needed to work overtime in order to prove themselves as valuable employees or secure promotions. These days employees are balancing mental well-being and are no longer content in sacrificing their personal time in the hope of a potential future benefit.”
“Employees are seeking time in lieu as compensation for hours worked overtime, so they better achieve that balance.”
n recent years, financial wellbeing has become an increasingly important aspect of overall employee wellbeing. As the cost of living continues to rise, many employees are finding it challenging to make ends meet, save for the future, or even cover unexpected expenses. The COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated these financial challenges for many individuals and families.
“There are a number of financial wellness solutions companies can offer and on-demand pay is one of them – when an employer gives an employee the choice as to when they’re paid – allowing them to access their wages as they earn them,” says Mr Furman.
“Being able to access your wages when you want to is commonplace in the US and the UK now and it’s just a matter of time until Australian corporates catch up with the rest of the world,” he says.
“For many employees they’re too embarrassed to ask for a pay advance when they have an unexpected expense – having the security of knowing they can access their wages when they need them without their boss knowing is a big drawcard,” says Mr Furman.
“For companies, it’s a 2 to 4 week process that requires less than a few hours of payroll and HR’s time, as the provider does all the heavy lifting.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has heightened awareness around the importance of maintaining good health, and many employees are seeking benefits that support their physical and mental well-being. This includes gym memberships, mental health services, and wellness programs.
“A wellness package should focus on employee happiness, mental health and physical wellbeing. It’s about offering an array of health benefits that sets you apart from the competition.”
“Employees these days are looking for things like a gym membership, on-site complementary counsellor, mental health days, recreational activities, free healthcare check-ups etc” says Mr Furman.
“A happier workplace also leads to a more productive and motivated workforce,” he adds.
One of the most popular corporate perks that employees are looking for in 2023 is corporate discounts. Many employees are seeking discounts on a range of products and services across various industries, including health insurance, travel, and retail outlets.
“It’s a tough time for many Australian workers at the moment, and they’re seeking savings wherever they can. Consider how you can use this to your advantage when it comes to recruiting and retaining staff,” says Mr Furman.
“Consider investing in a free breakfast for staff, even if its once a week or complementary snacks in the kitchen – simple ways to boost morale”
“Employees are looking for corporate discounts across a range of industries such as health insurance, travel, and retail outlets. It’s about demonstrating a level of care for their lives outside of work as well”