Is L&D a worthy substitute for pay rises?

by John Hilton22 Jan 2016
In the current economic climate there is often a reluctance to increase the operating costs of business, said Steve Shepherd, Employment Market Analyst at Randstad.
Therefore, businesses are looking for non-monetary ways to reward staff, and training and development can be a very important part of that, he added.
“It’s about people feeling valued and if you’re committing to their career development I think it adds to their sense of value,” Shepherd told L&D Professional.
Shepherd’s comments come off the back of new figures which suggest that Australians are among the least confident in the world they will be rewarded for their hard work last year with a bonus or pay rise as 2016 begins.
Indeed, just 35% expect a one-time bonus as we enter the new year, while less than half (45%) of Australians anticipate a pay rise, according to the Randstad Workmonitor report (Wave 4 2015).
This was consistent with New Zealand where 35% of workers expect a bonus and 50% a pay rise.
Shepherd said that L&D professionals are can definitely be part of the solution in preventing employees becoming disheartened about lack of money.
“They play an important role in understanding what motivates each person and what can help to keep them focused,” he told L&D Professional.
“There is a danger that staff satisfaction and engagement will drop if workers believe the business is doing well and yet they aren’t rewarded for the work they’ve put in.
“While bosses might not want to disclose the bottom line, communication is key. Keeping your workforce in the loop on the state of trading will help ensure their expectations are realistic.”
Moreover, in a recent survey by Robert Half, 16% of Australian office workers elected more training and development opportunities as top of their wish list of perks (outside of additional remuneration).
Interestingly, the salary expectation results were much more promising in other countries across the APAC, with 80% of Chinese workers, 78% of Malaysian, 69% of Singaporean and 52% of employees in Hong Kong expecting a one-off financial reward or bonus leading into 2016.
Additionally, 76% of Malaysian, 73% of Chinese, 61% of Singaporean and 60% of Hong Kong workers are anticipating a pay rise.
“If you look at the unemployment rate in Singapore, Hong Kong and China, it’s significantly lower than Australia,” Shepherd said.
“We’ve had high unemployment in Australia over the last couple of years, but recent labour force figures and job ads have shown some healthy signs of a job market that is following in the footsteps of increased business and consumer confidence over the last quarter.
“However, low expectations around bonuses and pay rises are an indicator that improving conditions haven’t yet trickled down to worker confidence.”