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45 percent of Australians Open to Trading Pay for Flexibility

Nov 29, 2023

Would you trade pay for better work hours? A new study has found a lot of us would. 

A University of South Australia study has nearly half of the workforce would consider sacrificing a portion of their annual salary in exchange for the highly sought-after flexibility of working from home.

The research, spanning over 1100 Australian workers shows a willingness among 45 percent of participants to accept a pay cut in return for the liberty of remote work. For those efficiently executing their roles from home, the sacrifice ranged from $3000 to $6000 annually, equating to 4 to 8 percent of their salary. Significantly, one-fifth of respondents expressed a more substantial readiness to forfeit a considerable $12,000 to $24,000 annually, representing 16 to 33 per cent of their salaries.

On the flip side, 55 percent of those surveyed remained unwilling to part with any portion of their wages, citing concerns spanning productivity, wellbeing, and the myriad challenges associated with remote work.

Many residents living on the outskirts of Sydney welcomed the changes allowing working from home bought on by Covid. Hawkesbury residents who work in the city currently face long commute times during peak hour or about 1.5 hour journey on the train each way. 

Lead researcher Associate Professor Akshay Vij emphasizes the imperative need for further exploration into employee preferences concerning remote and flexible work arrangements. 

“We found that attitudes towards the impacts of remote working on human relationships and interactions were a significant predictor of these differences. For example, workers who didn’t place a positive value on remote working are more concerned about their relationship with colleagues and their supervisors, as well as missing out on opportunities for learning and career advancement,” he says.

“It was interesting to find that these concerns were raised more often by workers who had more experience with remote working before the pandemic. Workers who had less experience with remote working arrangements were more positive about working from home.”

Demographic variations played a pivotal role, with female workers nearly 30 per cent more likely to value remote work than their male counterparts. Age distinctions were also a factor, with workers in their 30s and 50s expressing a higher preference for remote work compared to those in their 20s. Notably, couples with children were found to be more willing to sacrifice a portion of their salary for the opportunity to work from home compared to other family structures.


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