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Bosses offering free rent, food to attract workers

In Australia’s tight labour market, businesses are getting creative to lure new employees.

People walking and Australian money. Work concept.
Free rent, food and gym memberships are just some of the perks Aussie businesses are offering workers. (Source: Getty)

Australia is facing a tight labour market and it’s forced some businesses to get creative in their hunt for new talent.

Take Melbourne cafe group Only Hospitality - the Victorian team behind cafes like Bentwood Fitzroy, MOB Camberwell and Clubhouse Malvern - who are offering free rent and accommodation to staff on the Mornington Peninsula.

Elsewhere, companies like McCabes Lawyers in Sydney are offering free breakfast to staff on Fridays, while the Smile Factory dental group in Newcastle is offering staff a free gym membership.

Sharpe Engineering in Queensland is giving staff “on demand” pay, so they are paid immediately for the work they have done.

It follows a recent KPMG survey, which found 77 per cent of senior executives thought finding and attracting talent was their biggest challenge for 2023.

The CEO of pay on-demand service Paytime, Steven Furman, said employees currently had the upper hand in negotiating for extra benefits.

“Companies who don’t think ahead and outside the box, when it comes to employee perks, are going to get left behind in the battle for the best talent,” he said.

According to Furman, flexible work hours, time in lieu, on-demand pay, wellness packages and corporate discounts are the top five work perks employees are looking for.

“Employees these days are looking for things like a gym membership, on-site complimentary counsellor, mental health days, recreational activities, free healthcare check-ups, etc,” Furman said.

Corporate discounts, like free breakfast or complimentary snacks, could provide an added incentive, given the current cost-of-living crisis.

“It’s a tough time for many Australian workers at the moment and they’re seeking savings wherever they can,” Furman said.

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