Communicate asked employees what they have to say about their salaries and employment.
In this last part of Communicate's Salary Survey, employees themselves tell us how they feel about the ways in which they are rewarded for their work by their employers. We reached out to industry professionals individually via an online survey that received a large number of responses. These professionals shared their own data and details, which, once aggregated, provided a somewhat different perspective from what industry players had told us.
Turns out they indeed have a lot to say...
• Employees have high expectations. The fact that 48.3% of respondents have been in the same company for 1-2 years is quite symbolic of a market in flux. The fact that 1 in 3 had resigned in 2022 or is planning to is even more revealing. And the fact that monetary concerns (91.7% of those who resigned and 63.6% of those planning to) and work culture (66.7% of those who resigned and 81.8% of those planning to) are the main drivers behind this decision should send a clear signal to employers that their workforce is reevaluating its priorities. After two years of job insecurity, employees want to regain a sense of control and see the current market dynamism as an opportunity to weigh their options and find a role that matches their expectations, both financial and cultural.
• Not everybody received a salary increase. On the financial front, employees don’t seem overly satisfied. A little bit more than half of them said that they received a salary bump in 2022 and only 54% expect to receive a bonus this year, even though 75% of employers say they’re planning to give the extra reward. This paints a less positive picture from the workforce’s perspective than from the employers’ and could explain the relatively high number of employees considering a job or even a career change.
• Financial disappointment. This not-so-positive picture is highlighted by the fact that only 2 in 3 employees say they’re happy with their pay – which is better than 2020 for sure (48%), but way less than in 2019 (71%). Employees clearly absorbed the turmoil of the Covid crisis and the resulting instability, but they now want more from their employers. The question, therefore, is whether agencies are comfortable with a third of their workforce looking out.
• Diverse priorities. As mentioned above, money is not the only driver behind a talent’s decision to stay or leave an agency. An increasingly diverse array of factors, including work conditions and benefits, play a huge part in this choice.
• Work-from-home matters to employees. Although all respondents on the agency side say they implement flexible work policies, it’s intriguing that only 62% of respondents on the employee side say their employer has such policies in place. This is all the more important that a vast majority (89.7%) of employees say that work-from-home/flexible options are fairly or very important to them – which shouldn’t come as a surprise to employers.
• The importance of benefits. Similarly, all respondents say that benefits are important to them and more than 3 in 4 say that their benefits have not really changed in 2022, mirroring the ones that employers mentioned: wellbeing programs, additional holidays, and better insurance are the rule. For the most part, these benefits are the ones that employees care about, but with a couple of caveats: 1 in 4 would like their employer to consider offering child education; 1 in 5 would appreciate a sabbatical option and/or being part of a profit-sharing scheme; and almost 60% would happily embrace a 4-day work week – a hope certain to be dashed as 82% say their company doesn’t implement the 2.5 weekend to start with.
• Mixed results. As a result, 2 in 3 employees say they’re happy with their job today, which circles back to the key question: are agencies comfortable with a third of their workforce not satisfied?
• 2023 may be a year of change. With a quarter of respondents saying they’re optimistic about 2023, and 41% saying that they plan to change jobs next year, it seems clear that the GCC workforce feels empowered enough to put pressure on organizations, including financially. Almost 80% of respondents expect their salaries to increase significantly in 2023 and half of those who plan to leave their job say they will do so for financial reasons. Work conditions and culture, along with the place of work are the other main drivers behind a potential move.
• Employees prepare themselves for the future. Another 80% of respondents have been upskilling themselves – notably online for the vast majority of them – to meet the challenges ahead. Talents are readying themselves to walk the talk, and they expect organizations to follow.
• Employers beware. What agencies need to ask themselves today is what this reality – and the gap in perception and expectations between employees and themselves – means for their own future in terms of recruitment and retention, at a time when business is indeed good but competition for talent is fierce.
This article was published in Communicate's latest issue.