Randstad reveals what Australian workers want from their employers

Gary Carroll, Chief Executive Officer at G8 Education

New research released by recruitment and Human Resources services company, Randstad, reveals that a good work-life balance, attractive packages (salary and benefits) and job security are the most vital factors for attracting and retaining workforce talent in 2022. 

What were the findings of the study?

The annual Randstad Employer Brand Research, an independent research which surveyed over 6,000 Australians, also reveals which 10 employers are doing it best, with those named as most attractive coming from a diverse range of industries and sectors, including early learning education & care, professional services, metals and mining and the public sector. 

Workers willing to walk to find a role which meets their priorities

With the Aussie unemployment rate falling to 3.5% in June 2022 (a 50-year low) Australian workers have never had more opportunity to call the shots. When making their choice, 62% put work-life balance at the top of the list, followed by attractive salaries and benefits (58%), job security (56%), good training (53%) and a pleasant work atmosphere (51%). 

The study paints a picture of a confident workforce hesitating to seek new pastures if they feel their employer is not meeting their priorities. At the start of this year, 28% indicated they intended to change employers within six months, higher than a year ago (24%). 

When asked how their employer stacks up against these priorities, 37% does not feel that their employer is currently offering good work-life balance, and less than half (45%) believe their employer offers good salary and benefits. However, Australians are more likely to stay put if their employer makes positive changes and supports their growth and development. Two-thirds (66%) are very likely to stay put if they can reskill or upskill in their current job. 

Getting the balance right with work-life balance

While financial stability, career progression and job security are vital to keep employees happy, work-life balance is the top driver for blue-collar vs white-collar workers (58% vs. 62%, respectively) – a key consideration for employers looking to attract and retain talent. 

Looking at what actions employees took themselves to improve their work-life balance, the most popular actions taken by one in four employees are working flexible hours (25%), increasing remote working (24%), working less overtime (19%) and changing jobs (13%). 

When asked what changes they want from their current employers to help them achieve and maintain a healthy work-life balance, employees named five key areas: flexible work plan (44%), training and development (36%), wellness and mental health resources (35%), salary protection/fair compensation (31%) and offering career development (29%). 

The biggest contributor to employer brand is financial health, with two in five (41%) respondents saying it is highly vital to them when considering a great employer. This reflects an ongoing need for employees to feel secure following nearly three years of turbulence.

Personal career growth is also important for over half (57%), increasing to almost four in five (69%) for 18-34 year olds and two-thirds (68%) for those with higher education. Reskilling and upskilling is also top of the agenda for 69% of employees who say it is very important.

Just over half (58%) think their current employer offers this. Job security is the third most crucial factor for employer brand, as voted by 56%. Females value job security more highly than males (61% vs 51%) and feeling secure in their job is more important for Boomers (65%) than any other generation (Gen X – 60%, Millennials – 54% or Gen Z – 51%).

What were the executive’s thoughts on the study?

Commenting on the study, Angela Anasis, Executive General Manager, Randstad Sourceright ANZ, said, “The annual Randstad Employer Brand Research provides an insightful barometer for employee sentiment, and in a year where we’ve seen demand and talent trends turned upside down, these findings are particularly valuable for employers and candidates alike.”

“This year’s results demonstrate how important it is for employers to look at the broader offering beyond salary. While remuneration is key in a competitive job market and inflationary economy, Australian workers have reset their priorities following the pandemic and striking a balance between their work and personal lives is no longer a nice to have, it’s an essential.”

While remote work dominated conversations around work-life balance in 2020 and 2021, fewer employees are reporting this benefit with remote working in Australia having now decreased from 55% in 2021 to 48% in 2022. Angela Anasis added, “We are seeing a gap between what employees want and what employers are delivering in the workplace.”

“With 1 in 3 workers not happy with their work-life balance, employers need to take action by offering flexible working hours, cutting overtime and opportunities to work remotely.”

“Nevertheless, it’s important employers balance the desire for remote working with the reality of the operating context of the business and the needs of its customers,” she said.

“There could be legitimate reasons why a company might require their employees to work in an office setting Monday to Friday. These employers need to think outside of the box when it comes to supporting their staff to achieve better work-life balance, whether it’s through wellness and mental health resources or enhanced training and development opportunities.” 

Who were the employers that stood out?

In addition to identifying what employees are most seeking from a job, the annual research also reveals which employers have the strongest appeal for workers in Australia. In 2022 employers from a diverse range of sectors topped the list, including early learning education & care, government agencies and corporates. Notably absent are travel and tourism firms, which have historically ranked highly in the report but suffered two years of challenges. 

G8 Education, one of Australia’s largest early learning providers, has taken the top title for the first time, recognised for having strong financial health, as well as offering job security.

G8 Education Chief Executive Officer Gary Carroll comments: “Our team members play a critically important role educating and caring for Australia’s future generations, and we pride ourselves on providing purpose-driven and fun workplaces where our teams can thrive.”  

“We are committed to investing in our people, to retain and attract the best educators and teachers. Our study pathways program, offering support from Certificate 3 to Bachelor degree scholarships, is sector leading. We help members achieve work life balance with flexible working plans, discounted early fees for their children and wellbeing programs.”  

The full list of top 10 most desirable employers for 2022 is: 

1. G8 Education 

Top drivers

  1. Financially healthy
  2. Job security
  3. Career progression
6. ISS facilities services
2. BHP

Top drivers

  1. Financially healthy
  2. Career progression
  3. Attractive salary and benefits
7. Downer
3. NSW Department of Communities & Justice

Top drivers

  1. Financially healthy
  2. Job security
  3. Career progression
8. Deloitte
4. Australian Leisure and Hospitality Group

Top drivers

  1. Financially healthy
  2. Offers interesting job content
  3. Pleasant work atmosphere
9. IAG Australia
5. Federal Government


Top drivers

  1. Career progression
  2. Financially healthy
  3. Job security
10. Woolworths

The Randstad Employer Branding report is available to download here