Why don’t employers know what the workforce wants?

A recent report has revealed that Australian employers are failing to offer employees what they want – and part of the reason is because they don’t realise what that is.

Why don’t employers know what the workforce wants?
The Adecco Employment and Talent Report 2015 was released recently, revealing that the temporary employment market is continuing to grow.
Although two-thirds of Australians seek permanent roles, there are over 3.5 million temporary jobs available despite the 12 year unemployment high.
“The remainder of 8 million jobs is the permanent market,” said Rick Khinda, Adecco’s director of communications. “This highlights the growing gulf between what employers offer and what employees want – the temporary market is the one that’s growing, despite employees wanting permanent roles.”
The report also highlighted the increasing disparity between what employers are offering and what employees want from permanent roles, with salary increases, flexible hours and childcare coming under dispute.
“There is a growing disconnect between what workers want and what the market is willing to offer,” said Neil Jones, CEO at Adecco Australia and New Zealand. “Salary increases are down this year and there is a reduction in many workplace benefits such as flexible working hours but these are what is most important to the workforce.”
Wage increases are being offered by fewer businesses than last year, with just 10% planning to offer increases of 3-5% or higher than CPI. In 2014, three quarters of employers had these plans.
Although salary reasons were the main reason for employees leaving their companies, just 18.7% of employers recognise this.
Khinda also addressed the report’s findings that there was a disconnect on the importance of salary as a retention tool.
“Although the survey found that employees are mainly leaving their organisations because of salary, employers believe that they are leaving for better opportunities,” he said.
He referred to the fact that few employers are offering salary increases this year, with increases in pay being  much lower this year than they were on 2014.
Childcare was also revealed as an issue. While 40.2% of employers surveyed offered flexible working hours, only 1.7% offered child care contribution or child care in the workplace – but over 10% of employees said they feel organisations should provide these.
Flexible working hours was seen as more important than paid maternity leave, with half of respondents regarding flexibility as crucial compared to 28.7% saying that maternity leave was of high importance.
The main attractions to a new role were worklife balance (67.3%), salary (57.5%) and opportunity to grow (51.8%).
Key benefits offered in 2015 included education and training and flexible working hours – but both are being offered by fewer employees in 2015 than last year. Bonuses, however, have increased from 29% last year to 34%.
“Temporary labour is an important factor in sustaining a competitive advantage in today’s marketplace, and even more so in this economic climate,” Jones added. “A temporary workforce gives employers the flexibility to efficiently manage the demand and supply fluctuations in their business. The challenge for today’s workforce is to determine how they can make this rapidly changing job landscape work for them.”
“Another disconnect made evident by the report was the decrease in flexibility in spite of work-life balance being the biggest attraction for employees to a new role,” Khinda explained. “That highlights the contrast between what employees want and what they are being offered.”
Related articles:
Can’t afford pay rises? How to keep employees happy when times are tough
New Zealanders bigger risk-takers than Aussies over salary
What do Aussie workers want the most?

Recent articles & video

ABS: Job vacancies decline for fifth-straight quarter

Taking steps to prevent workplace sexual harassment

Casual worker claims employer violated obligation to offer permanent position

A big thank you to the judges of the Australian HR Awards 2023

Most Read Articles

Melbourne firm introduces 'weight management' benefit

What HR needs to know about the latest tranche of industrial relations law reforms

Psychosocial hazards and the 'right to disconnect' – employer implications