Will employees regret prioritising flexibility over a pay rise?

A recent desire for flexibility over pay could backfire as inflation starts to bite. Will companies be willing to break the habit of offering pay instead of flexibility?

by Peter Crush
Image credit: Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
Image credit: Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

If proof were needed that tried and trusted management maxims no longer apply, just take a look at what’s happening to one traditional lever of choice: the pay rise. 

Once it was the answer to many an engagement ill. But not recently it seems. A slew of data reveals staff are increasingly willing to eschew pay in favour of having more personal time instead. Recent IWG research found that 72% of office workers would now prefer long-term flexibility rather than going back to the office and getting an immediate 10% pay rise. In 2014, most people opted to take the money, with only 43% of employees polled saying they would choose flexibility over a pay rise in a survey by Unify.

But in an about turn from years of low inflation and barely-there interest rates, latest figures suggest price rises are back – and with a vengeance. August’s figures showed the largest Consumer Prices Index jump on record to 3.2%, with inflation now at its highest since 2012. It suggests pay could once more become paramount – but could staff be misplaced if they think it will simply return just because they want it again?

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