The Importance of Reward Packages in Australia

Across Australia and New Zealand organisations are increasingly aware of the importance of reward packages when it comes to retaining their current staff and attracting new talent. With skills shortages in Engineering, Oil & Gas and Mining industries, the competition to hire top talent is monumental. These pressures are causing companies to not only look at remuneration but also reward packages that comprise of both tangible and intangible aspects.

What are the current trends in reward packages?

There has been a far greater focus on creating more attractive reward packages over the last 12 to 18 months and while there are some similarities in the rewards being offered across industries, each organisation is shaping their benefits according to what they are able to offer. On top of monetary rewards, organisations are taking a whole different approach in order to engage the right talent by offering global mobility, flexible working conditions and other perks.

With stagnant salaries in the Resources space and little income growth in the Engineering industry, reward packages are leading the way forward. It is critical to develop and deliver reward packages that attract key talent to drive improvements in performance since salary demands were increasingly unmatchable.

With a handful of companies unable to compete on salary, they are coming up with innovative ways to incentivise staff. We’ve seen an increase in performance related bonuses in some industries while others are offering equity options or end of year annual leave give-aways. Other conventional offerings such as fully sponsored leadership programs, mentoring and advanced accreditations are also seeing growing investment. These incentives bring extra value to candidates by prioritising their development but also driving organisational performance.

Are candidates looking for better work/life balance?

Employees across Australia and New Zealand are driving organisations to understand the importance of wellbeing and work/life balance. In response, organisations looking to improving work/life balance are not only offering flexible working conditions but also investing in other benefits to target well-being, such as free gym membership or health insurance.

However, in markets where skills are in shortage, work demand within an organisation can far outweigh capacity, meaning candidates with these niche skills are being pushed to their limits to reach targets, resulting in employees working longer hours. We are currently seeing a deterioration in work/life balance in the Engineering industry caused by large projects across Melbourne and Sydney. In addition to longer hours, jobs within the Engineering Industry often require employees to travel, further impacting their work/life balance. Employees, especially those with young families, will often consider a new opportunity if it offers them a better work/life balance, even if they have to compromise on salary.

Hence, organisations within the Engineering industry are now starting to realise that and have put their focus on other incentives that aid a work/life balance.

How important is flexible work and what does this look?

With the average commute taking over 30 minutes, organisations in Australia and New Zealand are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of offering flexible hours or working from home options.

On a fundamental level, flexible working conditions are made easier for those in the technology industry compared to the rest. Daniel Illingworth, Recruitment Specialist for Progressive added, “Unlike the Technology and Finance Industry, flexible working conditions within the Engineering Industry can be almost impossible for some employees because they need to be hands-on or are based onsite”. Hence, the importance of flexible work is perhaps less relevant to the engineering field.

While flexibility is a top priority for some industries, we cannot dismiss those who follow their passion for the Engineering sector regardless of what an organisation has on offer. Some individuals will choose to work for an organisation because the intrinsic value to them is far more important than the extrinsic benefits they receive.

How influential is a benefits package on a candidate's final choice of job?

Delivering a benefits package can be a pivotal factor on a candidate’s final choice of job. Whilst career progression remains a key concern, the role of the benefits package is undergoing radical changes. In some circumstances, candidates are willing to change jobs for a similar, or lower salary, purely because the role peaks their interest and the passion they have for the industry.

Within Australia and New Zealand, organisations risk stifling their business if they are not willing to formulate attractive benefits to influence candidates to choose to work with them. With some individuals demanding significantly higher monetary rewards, benefit packages can be highly influential in today’s generation. This is particularly prevalent for organisations across Engineering industries who have invested heavily to be able to offer lucrative benefits in skills-short markets.

Nonetheless, the attractiveness of a benefits package is highly dependent on individual preferences. For example, Global mobility is often a great incentive for those who seek international exposure; however candidates with young families would place greater value on flexible hours. For a benefits package to truly influence a candidate’s final choice on job, the organisation needs to understand a candidates’ motivations and tailor their offering accordingly, which is often easier said than done.

If you would like to find out more about a job opportunity within the Engineering sector in Australia, please kindly contact Ben Gilroy, Senior Business Manager of the Australia team at [email protected]