Aussie workers would take a salary cut for better work/life balance

Cayla Dengate, Career Expert at LinkedIn

LinkedIn’s quarterly Workforce Confidence Index report has revealed that a third of Australian workers would consider a small pay cut if the job in question offered better work/life balance, more enjoyable work or a greater sense of fulfillment. Additionally, younger Australian workers are more likely to seek better work/life balance and more enjoyable work.

With flexibility top of mind for everybody lately, Aussie workers are interested in benefits that give them more control of their time, like flexible work, 4-day work week and unlimited PTO. Younger Aussies are driving the interest in these areas, along with free mental health benefits.

What is the labour market landscape today?

When it comes to optimism, its Aussies in finance who have the highest levels of optimism about their firm’s next 6 months, followed by software & IT services and recreation/travel workers. Year over year, those in media and communications have seen the largest increase in confidence in employer outlook, while those in healthcare and construction have seen the largest declines. Trends on labour market insights from LinkedIn’s Economic Graph show:

  • Competition for jobs is down compared to one year ago.
    • As the number of job postings increase, we see that applications per job has also gone down, with Australia -67% (compared to May 2021).
  • Availability and demand for remote work continues to rise.
    • There is a large and growing proportion of paid job postings that offer remote work options – this reflects that companies are becoming more open to provide workers with flexible work options. For Australia, it’s 7.7% (up by 1.3x compared to May 2021)
  • We also see that job applicants also show more interest in jobs that offer remote options.
    • Relative to their absolute share of all job postings, those that offer remote options receive more interest on average. For Australia we’re seeing 1.7x more applications

What were the executive’s thoughts on the study?

Cayla Dengate, LinkedIn Career Expert commented, “Data from LinkedIn’s Workplace Confidence Index shows Aussie workers would happily take a slight pay cut if a role offered increased work/life balance, more enjoyable work, or a greater sense of fulfillment.”

“This focus on flexibility could be driven by many Aussies taking stock of what’s most important in their life following two years of disruption. Gen-Z is the generation most likely to prioritize better work/life balance, while baby boomers were least likely,“ said Dengate.

“Although younger workers are driving demand for better non-cash benefits, Aussies of all generations are looking for roles with benefits like flexible work arrangements, a four-day work week and unlimited PTO. Australians are now slightly more confident overall about their work experience/education, their organisation’s recent performance and the time they can devote to job seeking than they were in January of this year,” Dengate further commented.

What were the study’s key insights?

Please see the key data points summarised below:

  • 1 in 3 Australian workers would consider a small pay cut, if the job offered better work/life balance (36%), more enjoyable work (35%) or a greater sense of fulfillment (32%).
  • 1 in 4 Australian workers would consider a pay cut in exchange for a stronger chance to grow in the role (28%), more flexibility to work onsite/remote (26%), more inspiring company leadership (24%), a chance to be my whole self at work (23%)
  • 1 in 5 Australian workers would consider a small pay cut in exchange for a better relationship with my boss/team (21%).
  • Younger Australian workers are more likely to seek better work/life balance (Gen Z – 51%) and more enjoyable work (Gen Z – 50%).
  • Aussie workers are most interested in benefits that give them more control of their time: flexible work arrangements (67%), 4-day work week (56%) and unlimited PTO (24%)
  • Younger Australian workers drive the interest in the 4-day work week (Gen Z – 63% and Millennials – 67%), unlimited PTO (Gen Z – 44% and Millennials – 32%) and free mental health benefits (Gen Z – 33% and Millennials – 24%).
  • Mid-career workers drive interest in flexible work (Millennials – 73% and Gen X – 69%.
  • Older Aussie workers would be fine with none of these benefits (Baby Boomers – 14%).
  • YoY, those in media and communications (+ 9pts) have seen the largest increase in CIE, while those in healthcare (-11 pts) and construction (-10 pts) have seen large declines.
  • Compared to the end of Q1 2022 and the end of the most recent quarter Q2 2022, Australians were more confident about their work experience/education, their organisation’s recent performance and the time they can devote to job seeking.