Work-life balance beats salary

by 10 Jul 2007

Despite the tight job market, employees are overwhelmingly swayed by work-life balance considerations rather than salary.

According to figures released by Robert Half, nearly half of Australian workers see work-life balance as the key factor in what makes a good employer. Work-life balance is much more important for local workers than the global average. Conversely, workers globally see employer brand and corporate culture as more important than Australians.

“In a time of increased pressure for businesses to perform, people are willing to work hard to achieve these goals – but at the same time they do not want to be enslaved by their work,” said Robert Parnell, CEO of Robert Walters Australia.

With such a tight job market, candidates are increasingly in a position to demand benefits from their employers, he added. “But the good news for smaller companies who cannot afford to compete in a salary war for the best talent in the market, is that non-monetary incentives can have much stronger appeal to prospective employees,” he said. “The benefits that commonly appeal might include extended leave, flexible working hours and remote working options.”

Telstra updates training facilities

Telstra has opened a new purpose-built training facility in Melbourne’s Docklands.

Telstra CEO Sol Trujillo said the centre will help equip Telstra’s staff with the skills to service next generation networks. The centre was developed in partnership with management consultancy Accenture Australia, whose managing director, human performance, Peter Cheese, said it would bridge the gap between workforce skills and strategy execution.

“People drive organisations to achieve high performance,” Cheese said. “High performing enterprises provide their people with the skills and capabilities that they require to execute corporate strategy. Telstra’s investment in learning recognises the direct link between workforce capabilities and successful strategic execution as the company implements its transformational agenda.”

The centre is part of Telstra’s $200 million investment in “job-ready learning and development”.

Recruiters to get flexible

As performance review season kicks off, recruitment firms will be aiming to offer training, career progression and flexible work approaches to retain staff,

According to the Recruitment and Consulting Services Association’s (RCSA’s) latest remuneration and benchmarking report, non-financial benefits are key to retention strategies. Offering increased pay is only the sixth most popular strategy.

However, the report also found that turnover in the recruitment and on-hire industry stands at a record 43 per cent. The review period is a good time to try and turn the tide, said RCSA CEO Julie Mills.

“Reviews provide the perfect opportunity for management to seek feedback as to what exactly their staff want and what will keep them engaged in the organisation,” she said. “The current turnover suggests this is not happening, or perhaps not to the extent it needs to. And it’s an important business issue, and not just for containing costs. Retaining staff allows agencies to better maintain consistency and quality of service.”

Australia lags on supporting women

The majority of working women feel they are sidelined by their employer after taking maternity leave, according to a survey.

The Heat Group’s poll said the 54 per cent of women believe Australian employers have not progressed in the past decade in terms of supporting women with children. While 91 per cent of those quizzed said women are “completely sidelined” by their employer after returning from maternity leave, 29 per cent said they have no choice but to go “straight back to work after having a baby”.

The Heat Group’s CEO Gillian Franklin, said Australia is lagging behind other countries in terms of its approach to women returning to work.

“Forty-two per cent of Aussie women say they are more disadvantaged than most first world countries when it comes to maternity leave. Several European countries – like Italy, Germany and Denmark– have paid maternity leave and guaranteed right of return to work,” she said. “Many women return to work in Australia to find they are given more menial positions, their employers’ attitudes have changed and they are denied promotions and extra responsibility. Effectively their careers are stopped in their tracks.