Employees now have greater influence over employment terms, shows the EY 2022 Work Reimagined Survey.

The survey highlights that 42 percent of employees say pay increases are needed to address staff turnover, while only 18 percent of employers agree.

The disparity between employee and employer opinion continues, with 22 percent of employers stating that want employees to come back to the office five days a week, with 80 percent of employees wanting to work remotely at least two days a week.


Employees’ “wish list” is changing

The survey by EY demonstrates that, as many countries emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, employees have gained significant influence over their employers and that their “wish list” from potential employers is changing.

Employees around the world now hold more sway in the global job market, with two-fifths (43%) of respondents saying they are likely to quit in the next 12 months – driven mostly by a desire for higher total pay, better career opportunities and flexibility amid rising inflation, a shrinking labour market and an increase in jobs offering flexible working.


Motivation for higher pay

With record inflation in many countries around the world, the main motivation for employees seeking new jobs is a desire for pay, according to the survey.

More than a third of those searching for new roles (35%) say that a salary increase is their main objective, and 25% say they are looking for career growth. Forty-two percent of employees surveyed say that pay increases are the key to addressing staff turnover.

However, only 18% of employers agree.

Flexible and hybrid working arrangements, by far the biggest factors leading to employee moves in last year’s survey, are now much less of a driver. This may be because most are already working for companies that offer flexibility in some form.

It is not surprising that now only 19 percent are seeking remote-work flexibility from a new job, with 17 percent saying that wellbeing programs would prompt them to move.

“This latest survey shows that employees around the world are feeling empowered to leave jobs if their expectations are not met.  As employers have increasingly provided flexible work approaches, higher pay is now the biggest motivation for changing jobs, particularly given rising inflation and available unfilled roles,” says EY Global People Advisory Services Deputy Leader and Workforce Advisory Leader, Liz Fealy.


Shifting views on culture and productivity 

Interestingly, the desire amongst employees to seek out new roles continus, even though they hold relatively upbeat views about company culture. The number of employees who believe their organization’s culture has improved, has risen from 48 percent to 61 percent since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, employers’ confidence in their own company culture has dropped from 77 percent to 57 percent.

Additionally, while employees believe new ways of working have increased productivity, companies’ confidence in their own productivity is being eroded by increased turnover.


What does this mean for employers?

It is important to for employers to have a strategy in place to match talent and skills to future business needs. It is also crucial that employers attempt to accordingly match their benefit schemes or working arrangements to the changing wishes of employees in this financially strenuous time. Otherwise, employers risk loosing a sizable amount of employees to the Great Resignation.

 “We are seeing a top third of companies successfully navigating these divergent positions on pay, career opportunities and flexibility. They have moved from ‘resistance’ to ‘renaissance’ and that’s a win-win for their companies and their workforce. Organizations have to work to retain their employees, instil trust and provide a package that takes into account total pay, career path and flexibility to balance market concerns and risks,” says EY Work Reimagined Leader, Roselyn Feinsod.