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How to hang onto skilled workers

By Jack Campbell | |5 minute read
How To Hang Onto Skilled Workers

Retention is of key concern for employers, and in the current competitive job market, hanging onto skilled workers is as important as ever.

The best way to keep workers around is to cater to their needs. To help identify exactly what this entails, SEEK conducted a survey of 14,717 adult workers who are looking to switch jobs in the next two years.

According to the data, the top drivers of attraction were:

  1. Work/life balance (15.4 per cent)
  2. Salary and compensation (13.9 per cent)
  3. Working environment (11.5 per cent)
  4. Management and management quality (10.1 per cent)
  5. Career/development opportunities (9.4 per cent)

According to SEEK, work/life balance is often a top consideration for jobseekers. However, climbing the list rapidly is salary and compensation. This rise has been attributed to the cost-of-living challenges that have put strain on families.

In fact, work/life balance and working environment have seen declining popularity, with factors like career development (8.7 per cent to 9.4 per cent), co-worker quality (6.2 per cent to 6.7 per cent), and social and environmental responsibility (2 per cent to 3.7 per cent) all climbing the ranks in the past year.

The desires of employees are becoming more complex and are often reflective of the state of the world around them. The transitioning of older workers into retirement and the rise of Gen Z have also been attributed as major influences on changing perspectives.

Career development, in particular, has garnered increased attention as SEEK recognised a significant drop in priority over the pandemic. Now, workers are getting back into career development, with it climbing two spots on the attraction list in the last year.

Despite these changing perspectives, work/life balance remains at the top spot, and over a third (36 per cent) still consider working from home a must-have when considering a job opportunity.

Other important flexibility considerations listed as “must haves” by respondents were:

  • Time in lieu as compensation for overtime/additional hours worked (30 per cent)
  • Additional leave (30 per cent)
  • Flexible working hours (29 per cent)
  • Ability to work part-time (27 per cent)

With compensation high on the list, all signs point to the economic troubles and rising cost of living as the main reasons for this.

In fact, according to SEEK, salary perks have been consistently rising in the last couple of years. For example, health/income insurance was a must-have for 16 per cent of workers in 2021. Now, however, it’s a must-have for 23 per cent.

Similarly, clothing allowances sat at just 8 per cent in 2021 but are now a must-have for 13.8 per cent, and company car/car allowance, at 10 per cent in 2021, is now at 11.7 per cent.

Superannuation has also garnered increased consideration from employees. Just 8 per cent considered additional superannuation a must-have pre-pandemic. Now, 21 per cent agree.

Overtime has seen increased attention, too, with financial compensation for overtime ranked as the second-most important when it comes to salary, beaten only by base salary.

Understanding what is driving employee perceptions and identifying exactly what they’re after from their employer can help organisations outperform their competition in terms of attraction, retention, and productivity.



Attrition is defined as the process through which workers leave a company for whatever cause (voluntarily or involuntarily), such as retirement, termination, death, or resignation.


Compensation is a term used to describe a monetary payment made to a person in return for their services. Employees get pay in their places of employment. It includes income or earnings, commision, as well as any bonuses or benefits that are connected to the particular employee's employment.

Jack Campbell

Jack Campbell

Jack is the editor at HR Leader.