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Aussies will take pay cut in exchange for flexibility: Report

By Juliet Helmke | |5 minute read
Aussies will take pay cut in exchange for flexibility: Report

Australian workers are now more than ever prioritising flexible work conditions over other factors of job satisfaction, according to a new report.

This article was originally featured in Real Estate Business

A research paper from ADP, titled People at Work 2022: A Global Workforce View, has found that while Aussies still say pay is the most important element in their job, they are willing to make sacrifices in financial compensation to have more control over their day.


Nearly half of all the respondents from Australia (48 per cent) said they would accept a pay cut if it meant improving their work/life balance, giving them more flexibility in their working lives.

A similar proportion (41 per cent) would go so far as to take a pay cut to guarantee flexibility in how they structure their hours – even if it meant their total hours per week did not change.

With the concept of the four-day working week growing in global consciousness, it would seem that Australian workers are keen to give the idea a try. But so far, that option has not been made widely available. Only 9 per cent of Australians said they had been offered a four-day working week at their current jobs.

It might be an option more companies consider soon, though, given how highly workers are prioritising flexibility. And with 62 per cent of employees saying they have contemplated making a major career move in the past year, more and more employers might find flexibility a valuable – and cost-effective – method of retaining staff.

Kylie Baullo, ADP’s managing director of Australia and New Zealand, noted the company’s research had revealed a substantial shift in perspective when it comes to what workers expect from their employers and the spaces in which they operate.

“Many of our long-held beliefs about working have been upended. While the onus remains on employers to create an attractive working environment, which encourages employees to stay, the hiring market is highly competitive at the moment. This is a strong indication that business leaders must consider what employees value and be open-minded and accommodating in negotiation,” Ms Baullo said.

“New arrangements, such as the four-day work week, have yet to be widely adopted in Australia. But these have the potential to be advantageous for both employers and employees. Such arrangements would previously have been dismissed, but now they are an example of real-world change caused by shifting worker priorities and astute business leaders.”

Ms Baullo added that workplaces need to be prepared to think creatively, too, in what they’re offering, as money is far from the only factor in employee satisfaction these days.

“While pay continues to be a high priority for many, flexibility and work/life balance are increasingly important organisational features that are sought after in both the Australian and global hiring markets.

“Acknowledging, understanding, and addressing these priorities is now vital for successful businesses looking to retain their core talent and help them thrive,” she said.

Juliet Helmke

Based in Sydney, Juliet Helmke has a broad range of reporting and editorial experience across the areas of business, technology, entertainment and the arts. She was formerly Senior Editor at The New York Observer.