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It’s hard to miss the many, many surveys on employee engagement, worker intentions and related topics that vendors and consulting companies pump out on a regular basis.

In one blog last year I referenced 14 such surveys or reports.

Generalising about workers’ intentions can hide significant variations across different segments of the workforce, whether they are based on gender, skill-level, occupation groups, age, earnings, location, and the list goes on.

This hit home to me in reading the most recent Elmo Software Employee Sentiment Index based on Lonergan Research surveyed 1,010 Australian workers aged 18 years and over between 13 December 2021 to 2 January 2022.

When respondents were asked to nominate and rank the top 5 factors in favourably considering a counter-offer the results were clear cut

“Increased salary/wage” was easily ranked the highest with 55% of respondents ranking it either the first or second most important factor.

“Greater flexibility of hours” was a long way behind in second place with 22% of respondents ranking it either the first or second most important factor.

“Ability to work from home/remotely more often was fifth with 16% of respondents ranking it either the first or second most important factor.

Remote work and working more flexibility gains a disproportionate amount of media attention because, overwhelmingly, the various companies, interest groups, journalists and bloggers who commission, sponsor and write these reports, articles, and blogs are knowledge workers almost certainly working from home either some or all of their typical work week (and I include myself in this category).

For many (but not all) employers, knowledge workers are more highly paid, more valuable, more sought-after, and hard to replace. Hence the greater willingness of those same employers to spend money with vendors and consulting companies who offer knowledge worker-focused solutions

Vendors and consulting companies seek to build credibility and gain business by raising awareness, in their target market, of current and emerging issues of concern, and presenting themselves as potential allies in solving, or at least helping to mitigate, those same issues.

It pays for many stakeholders to engage in ongoing campaigns to promote what knowledge workers think, want, and are likely to do, in both the short and long term.

The reality of the Australian workforce is that approximately one-third are degree (or higher) educated, approximately one-third have some other form of certification or qualification (overwhelmingly TAFE) and the remaining third have secondary leaving education, or below.

For a large majority of the Australian workforce remote work is either impractical or not desirable. What these workers want, and will be tempted to stay in their current job for is unambiguous: more money.

Organisational leaders, recruiters, HR, and hiring managers ignore this stark reality at their respective peril.

Related blogs

How committed to their job search is your candidate…really?

Why candidates decline job offers (and what to do about it)

Workers plan to dial back work life but what about their pay?


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