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Aussie workers value remote working over pay

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New research from Ascender reveals 1 in 3 staff would even sacrifice a portion of their salary for flexible work policies 

Sydney, 10 September 2020According to new research from leading payroll and HR software solutions provider, Ascender, the majority of Aussies (54 per cent) want to work from home for the remainder of 2020 – with more than one in three (37 per cent) stating they would take a pay cut to do so.

This willingness to sacrifice salary for remote working is especially prevalent among Gen Z’s aged 18-24, as 71 per cent would consider doing so, compared to 58 per cent of seniors aged 55-64. The results suggest businesses looking to remain competitive will need to consider implementing flexible work policies in order to attract new talent.

The research comes as Australia wrestles to reopen the labour market following months of lockdown and fears of a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

This shift in mental and behavioural preferences seems to be driven by the lifestyle adjustments remote working has introduced – a by-product of the pandemic. The research indicates almost half of Aussies (46 per cent) are saving more money, while a quarter (28 per cent) are living a healthier lifestyle through regular exercise and improved diet. 

Richard Breden, General Manager at Ascender, believes remote working has unveiled a new outlook on what an ideal work-life balance entails for Aussie workers. And those businesses that adjust to it will reap the rewards in terms of talent retention.

“The key is to be agile in your culture and flexible in your policies,” Breden said. 

“This isn’t about reducing wages, it’s about recognising just how much employees want flexibility. Businesses who want to remain competitive in the current climate must grasp the cultural benefits that will attract the brightest talent, then have the flexibility to adjust those policies to retain talent. A one-size-fits-all approach is no longer applicable in today’s evolved business environment.” 

With modern award changes taking place around annualised salaries earlier this year, Breden also draws attention to the extra layer of complexity brought forward by flexible work policies.

“Employers are struggling to stay compliant to legislation while maintaining an attractive workplace culture. The current industrial award system is outdated and needs to be simplified. There’s never been a better time for a shake up.” he said. 

Furthermore, the research finds 28 per cent of Aussie workers are unsure how their employer tracks their time. A concerning result, when new award clauses mandate employees clock in hours under specific requirements, means employees automatically lose some of the freedom that is otherwise enabled in a flexible system.

“The pandemic seems to have shifted what Australians value in a work environment, in some cases, prioritising flexible policies above pay. This new outlook only highlights the urgency to simplify the industrial award system, in order to enable businesses to build a culture of both flexibility and compliance, rewarding employees with what they value most,” concluded Breden.


Note to Editor
Ascender commissioned a survey amongst 1,000 working Australians.

For more information regarding this media release, please contact:
Ascender Marketing |

About Ascender
With more than 1.3 million employees of Ascender customers being paid using Ascender’s Payroll and Human Capital Management platforms throughout the Asia Pacific, approximately 1,600 accounts across more than 1,100 global brands and listed companies trust us to meet their payroll and HR needs.

Their regional teams and operational centres service a diverse range of customers’ payroll requirements through 900 dedicated professionals across 8 countries, who have local payroll knowledge and expertise in 7 languages across 31 country legislations. Ascender offers payroll outsourcing and cloud-based enterprise integration for businesses seeking to incorporate streamlined payrun capabilities across multi-countries through leading technology and innovative processes.