Employees and jobhunters are firmly in the box seat when it comes to negotiating better working conditions.
With the great job boom there are significantly more job ads on employment marketplace SEEK than pre-pandemic times. All industries are struggling to attract and retain top talent.
Current labour shortages have made now an ideal time for workers to make a change.
Recent SEEK research has found 80 per cent of employees would be more loyal to their boss if more benefits were offered.
A further 74 per cent were more likely to apply for a job if the job ad clearly listed the benefits, such as salary range, flexibility, job security and career progression details.
New balance of power
The work-from-home revolution has changed the way most Australians want to work, said Sabina Read, SEEK’s resident psychologist.
“So many people have had a potent taste of flexibility, agency and autonomy, and they’ve seen it works well,” she said.
“I think pre-COVID, the power sat with the employer and the employee had to dance to the tune of their expectations. Now I think employees have become more aware that the balance of power has shifted and that it’s more understood that it’s ok to have two-way conversations.”
SEEK data backs this up, revealing 65 per cent of people believe the key workplace factors that matter to them have changed since the pandemic and 50 per cent expect more from their employer or future employer than they did before COVID-19 came along.
At the negotiating table
The latest Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show the nation’s unemployment rate fell to 3.5 per cent, accounting for an extra 88,400 Australians finding jobs in June.
It means employers are willing to do more now to keep current and potential employees happy. Among the incentives are better work-life balance solutions such as flexible hours and favourable working-from-home arrangements.
Employees are increasingly taking the opportunity to negotiate their conditions with employers.
But this should be done carefully, advised Read.
“Instead of having a shopping list of things you want, I would align those needs to what you bring to the table, to your offering,” she said.
“I would say something like, ‘I’m excited about the position, I like what the company represents and I know what kind of conditions will help me thrive. I want to share those with you’.
“I think then it’s realistic, honest and transparent. But it’s really joining the dots between how you’re going to be your best self and what an employer can do to support that.
“That’s not being demanding, that’s creating a win-win. With these conditions and these parametres, candidates can say, ‘I think I’ll be the best version of me for you’.”
What’s most important
Compared to pre-pandemic times, work-life balance has jumped to the top of the priority list for workers when looking for a new job.
SEEK research shows this 48 per cent of workers want a healthy work-life balance, 44 per cent want flexible hours and 40 per cent want better salary and compensation.
Other items identified in the research as being on the negotiating table include better job security, options to work from home, good working relationships and mental health support.
For more tips on how to negotiate at work, head to SEEK Career Advice.
Source: Independent research conducted on behalf of SEEK, surveying 4800 Australians annually.