Two-thirds (65 per cent) of U.S. employees rank flexible work options as the No. 1 component of compensation beyond salary, down from 71 per cent in 2022, according to a new report by the Conference Board Inc.

The survey, which polled more than 1,500 workers, found employees in hybrid (68 per cent) and fully remote (67 per cent) working arrangements were more likely to value flexibility than in-person workers (49 per cent). Women (72 per cent) were also more likely than men (57 per cent) to value flexible work options.

Employees also cited bonuses and commissions (64 per cent), generous paid time-off policies (60 per cent), employer matching contributions to their 401(k) or 403(b) (59 per cent) and affordable and flexible health benefits (53 per cent) as key compensation factors.

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The survey found men were more likely than women to prioritize financial incentives, including bonuses and commissions (66 per cent compared to 62 per cent) and stock options (41 per cent compared to 29 per cent).

“Employees’ focus on flexibility amid a tight labour market puts the onus on human resources leaders and C-suites to ensure hybrid workforces remain engaged, productive and connected in the years ahead,” said Rita Meyerson, a principal researcher at the Conference Board, in a press release. “But it also opens new avenues in the competition for talent.

“Unlike salaries, bonuses, health care or retirement plans, workplace flexibility is the rare employee benefit that can save — rather than drain — financial resources, giving an advantage to companies that plan proactively.”

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