Rising inflation is causing a significant increase in the cost of living for the global workforce. After receiving unprecedented employer support during the pandemic, more people today expect them to help bridge the gap between shrinking paychecks and salary adjustments.

According to our latest Workmonitor survey, workers want their employers to offset inflation with more frequent raises, monthly stipends and even help with daily expenses.

survey results

Work monitor survey
Work monitor survey

Aside from financial assistance, the pandemic has left a lasting legacy on workers’ demands for flexibility, an area that remains a key priority for 2023. 

workers want flexible hours 

After accommodations during the pandemic, most workers aren’t ready to return to a traditional 9-to-5 work schedule. According to this year’s survey, 83 percent of respondents prefer a flexible workday. However, only 57 percent said their employer offers this option.

45 percent
45 percent

The highest preference for flexible hours came from younger age groups as well as women, who often serve as the primary caregivers in their households. These results show that the added support many organizations gave their employees in the past few years has come to be expected. 

workers want a flexible work location

In addition to flexible work hours, the majority of workers still desire a flexible work location even though many workplaces now require a return to the office. This year’s survey shows that 71 percent of respondents value this sort of flexibility. Yet just over half (51%) say their job offers this option.

40 percent
40 percent

As with flexible hours, women preferred flexibility around where they work more than men (72% vs. 69%). 

employers are helping

The good news is the desire for financial support is gaining traction. According to our survey, the most common kind of financial relief workers want is a monthly cost of living pay boost (41%), followed closely by a salary increase outside of the usual cadence of annual reviews (39%). 

High inflation coupled with ongoing talent scarcity has companies rethinking employee financial support. Last year in the UK, one in 20 companies with 250 or more employees provided a one-time payment to their workforce.  Domestically, the Wall Street Journal recently reported on a manufacturing company in Colorado that moved to quarterly pay reviews to help with inflation.

49 percent
49 percent

Our survey also revealed that 28 percent of respondents would prefer subsidies to help with daily work-related expenses such as energy and commuting costs. The price of fuel has skyrocketed globally, resulting in a growing number of employers offering stipends, gift cards or extended opportunities to work from home, all to offset rising energy costs. According to our survey, 15 percent of respondents say their employer has offered financial help to offset energy costs in the last six months.

age and geography variations

Not surprisingly, 41 percent of middle-aged workers — 35 to 44 — were interested in seeing their pay adjusted more often than once a year. In addition, along with 45 to 54-year-olds, they’d like to see a monthly adjustment to their pay (42%). Most likely to be raising a family, these age groups have childcare, education and living expenses to consider. 

Geographically, the importance of employer support varies by region. For example, seven in 10 respondents worldwide think a remote work location is important. However, Latin American workers responded most favorably (80%) versus those in Northwestern Europe and Hong Kong (61% and 62% respectively). And nearly all Indian workers (93%) want a flexible work location. 

The desire for financial support varies as well. A monthly stipend is most appealing to half of Southern Europeans but only to just over one-third of respondents in the Asia Pacific region. Fewer than one in five North Americans are interested in help with fuel and energy costs. However, in portions of Europe where help in this area is lowest, there is greater interest at just over a quarter of respondents in favor.

meet employee expectations

With rising inflation, working to meet employee expectations can set your organization apart. Here are three3 things to consider:

reimagine the workday

Think outside the box to develop practical policies around work hours and location. Explore which tasks can be done offsite to incorporate hybrid schedules and look to adjust hours without interrupting workflow.

reduce employee expenses

Get creative to avoid an increase in pay. Consider pre-tax commuter savings accounts, carpools and remote work opportunities.

keep in touch

Use employee feedback to understand their financial stressors and develop initiatives to alleviate concerns. This can help you retain talent and keep costs down in the long run.

After benefiting from accommodations over the past three years, workers impacted by the current cost of living crisis are looking to their employers for support. Responding to their needs can help you attract and retain great people. Learn more in our 2023 Workmonitor report.