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Paid Parental Leave: The new currency of 2022/23?

Last week, I felt that I needed some answers from the public. Over a short period of time, several of my senior-level female talents declined job offers that I had put to them & decided to stay in their current jobs due to counter offers from their current employers.

Offers included paid parental leave of up to six months (+ bonus when they return and in one case, profit share %) as an incentive to stay in their current job.

I created a LinkedIn poll to ask employees “what would make them stay in their current role?” that gained 28k impressions over 72 hours, 13.8% of which were Founders/ CEOs of companies in VIC. The results astounded me and made it more evident that employers must offer incentives to retain talented employees.

372 people completed the poll and here are the results:

  • 33% Cash/ more money $$$
  • 31% Paid maternity/parental leave
  • 24% WFH Full time
  • 12% More holidays

It’s no surprise that cash/ more money was the most popular. Money has always been used as an incentive to lure people back and encourage talent to stay. However, what I’m now finding (and this poll proves this) is that employees post-Covid are wanting incentives that are in line with creating a better work-life balance and more focus on families. 

The pandemic has not only shifted the way we work but also placed more value on mental health and home life. Employees have more bargaining power than ever before (hello wage inflation!) and it’s clear to me where their priorities lie—their family, planning a family, and their own wellbeing. 

Other incentives that were brought up in the poll were IVF leave, paid super while on paid parental leave, financial bonuses for mums returning to work (to ensure they come back perhaps?!) or in some cases, returning to work before they had planned. While this all sounds wonderful for some, what happens with employees/singles who don’t have/want families, have already raised their children, or want different incentives? How is this agreed upon by the employer and employee? What bargaining power should the employee have? What if the employer offers incentives that the employee doesn’t want? Will they lose the talent to a better offer?

Based on my own experience with the current AUS market, I’m finding that more and more people are being lured back by their employers who are offering incentives that are in line with their current wants and needs. Does this mean that every employer must provide incentives to all employees? What about the key talent that they want to retain vs. staff that are underperforming? How would an employer go about giving employee incentives to only new employees and employees they want to retain?

How does that work with pay transparency and overall transparency of how the company is run? Where do we draw the line? To cover all employees regardless of gender, family structure, age, and religion, maybe the best solution is for employers to offer two different types of packages worth the same amount of money. Giving the employee the freedom to choose which one better suits their needs and wants.

What’s YOUR currency to stay put in your current job? Is it money, extra paid parental leave, or more holiday leave, profit share? Send me a message HERE.


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