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4 in 10 employees willing to trade pay raises for flexibility: survey

55% favoured a weekly working pattern of three to four days in the office.

About 40% of employees in Hong Kong are willing to forgo pay raises in exchange for their desired flexibility in work arrangements, a recent survey by Morgan McKinley revealed.

The Morgan McKinley Global Workplace Study showed that 80% of employees in the region expressed a strong preference for continuing with a hybrid or remote work model. The favored weekly working pattern for 55% of professionals in Hong Kong is three to four days in the office, while 21% prefer one to two days. Only 20% are content with a full five working days in the office. 

Flexible working arrangements were also highlighted as a crucial factor in talent attraction and retention, with 27% of hiring managers emphasizing its importance.

 “Four years post-pandemic, the global workforce is still grappling with the ongoing debate surrounding hybrid work models. Simply mandating a five-day-a-week office presence would likely encounter resistance and productivity dips,” said Robert Sheffield, managing director of Hong Kong SAR, Morgan McKinley.

Despite employee preferences, 91% of companies in Hong Kong are urging staff to increase their in-office presence, indicating a discrepancy between employer and employee expectations. 

Employees working onsite five days a week were also found to be actively looking for new job opportunities in the next six months, with 56%, compared to 41% for hybrid employees and 44% for fully remote employees.

The survey also highlighted regional differences, with Hong Kong (91%) having higher return-to-office mandates compared to the United Kingdom (40%), Canada (40%), and Ireland (42%). 

Sheffield cited the need for companies to adopt a strategic and mindful approach to the remote rewind as fundamental for a more inclusive and resilient workforce in 2024.

The report draws insights from over 3,400 professionals and 650 employers/hiring managers worldwide.

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