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Top 5 work perks convincing Aussies to take lower salaries

Employers are increasingly luring top talent with benefits rather than salary.

A composite image of a crowd of people walking and Australian currency to represent work perks.
Aussies are willing to sacrifice higher pay if the work perks are good enough. (Source: AAP / Getty)

While many Aussies agree higher pay is at the top of their priority list, a number of workplaces have reported being able to attract top talent by offering perks instead.

The newly released 2023 Salary Guide, from specialised recruiter Robert Half revealed almost two-thirds (63 per cent) of Australian employers had a candidate accept a job offer because of their company’s benefits package, even when they were unable to meet the candidate’s salary expectations.

The most commonly offered benefits include:

  • Flexible work schedules (60 per cent)

  • Mental health programs (55 per cent)

  • Remote work options (52 per cent)

  • Extra paid parental leave (50 per cent)

  • Wellness programs (48 per cent)

The research also revealed bosses were planning to increase their benefits this year and 67 per cent planned to allow employees to swap a proportion of their salary in return for non-financial perks like holidays.

“With many companies focused on cost management, businesses might not be in a position to award pay rises or higher starting salaries amid economic uncertainty,” Robert Half director Nicole Gorton said.

Gorton said while salary was a main motivator for job seekers it was also just one piece of the puzzle.

“Businesses are increasingly recognising the power of benefits to land, motivate, engage and keep their top performers,” Gorton said.

“Australian companies benefit from diversifying their incentives offerings beyond the purely financial aspect, as professionals seek the complete package, and place added emphasis on quality of life.”

The research found employers were also looking at how they could support their employees’ lifestyles more broadly, such as offering reproductive-health benefits to support IVF treatment (22 per cent), health insurance (25 per cent) and financial-planning assistance (27 per cent).

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