Pay up or lose out: Workers with multiple job offers follow the dollar sign

woman in white long sleeve shirt sitting on red couch
  • 86% of Australian office workers have received multiple job offers when looking for a role
  • 68% of workers say salary is the main reason to choose one company over another when presented with multiple job offers, followed by flexibility (40%) and benefits (37%)
  • More men are driven by salary while more women prioritise flexibility

With skills shortages currently challenging many Australian employers recruiting for roles, new independent research by specialised recruiter Robert Half finds that talented Australian workers are spoilt for choice, with nearly nine in 10 (86%) Australian office workers having received multiple job offers when looking for a role, firmly asserting their dominant market position.

Salary is a deciding factor when choosing between roles 

More than two-thirds of office workers (68%) say salary is the top reason to choose one company over another when presented with multiple job offers, followed by flexibility (40%) and benefits (37%). On the other hand, only 2% of Australian workers would be influenced to choose one company over another for their environmental, social, and governance (ESG) and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs, and just 1% would choose the first offer extended to them based on timing.

This is consistent with the top reasons workers chose their last job offer – regardless of competing offers – with 80% of employees saying salary had the most significant impact on their decision, followed by flexibility (61%) and workplace culture (44%).

Deciding factors vary by age and gender  

While salary is the main deciding factor for the majority of both women and men when choosing between multiple job offers, more men (71%) prioritise salary compared to women (65%). More women (46%) consider good flexibility a reason to choose one job over another than men (34%), while more men (32%) would choose a role based on career progression opportunities than women (24%). Interestingly, over half (54%) of Generation Z workers will choose a role based on the benefits on offer, which is 17% higher than millennial workers and at least 15% higher than Gen X and the Baby Boomer generation. Unsurprisingly, more Gen Z professionals (47%) are driven by career progression opportunities than their older counterparts, being Gen Y (33%), Gen X (22%) and the Baby Boomer generation (13%).

“The current high demand for skilled talent is creating an environment where candidates have more choice around their next job opportunity. By understanding the deciding factors that shape a jobseeker’s next role, businesses are able to build and promote a more compelling package that will differentiate them from competitors,” said Nicole Gorton, Director Robert Half Australia in announcing Robert Half’s latest survey results.

“Being firmly in the driver’s seat, candidates want the full package. While salary is consistently shown to be the most influential factor in candidates’ decision making – particularly as inflation and cost of living go up – they typically also want the flexibility, career progression and a company culture that matches their expectations and personality. Employers shouldn’t only lead with the financials, but incorporate and harness the potential of hybrid work and flexible schedules, career growth opportunities, team culture and benefits as key differentiators when competing for top talent.”

“While the package on offer is tantamount to landing the preferred candidate, a generous salary offer makes employees excited about their income, not the role at hand. If candidates don’t like their work environment, no amount of salary, benefits or perks are likely to keep them happy, especially over time. When the candidate of choice is evaluating multiple job opportunities, employers shouldn’t overlook the importance of simple relationship skills. Building emotional rapport, selling the company culture and role, outlining career development opportunities, reinforcing commitment to the candidate and maintaining open communication can all significantly increase the likelihood of preferred candidates accepting the job offer,” concluded Gorton.

Robert Half’s top tips for evaluating multiple job offers: 

Tip #1: Establish your career goals 

Evaluating multiple job packages and entering negotiations with employers will be easier if you start by setting out exactly what you want from your next position. With your objectives in mind, prepare questions for each interview you are invited to which will help you understand important aspects of the opportunity; these might include asking about what the role entails, the company culture, and career prospects. Asking the same questions at each interview will be important for accurately comparing and making an informed decision about the available opportunities according to the career goals you have set.

Tip #2: Take a long-term view 

Don’t be blinded by an immediate payoff. Regardless of salary and how it compares to competing offers, think about your future and how a role might benefit your career over the long-term. For example, if a salary increase is your primary goal, be mindful that one offer with a higher starting salary could be outweighed by another offer with more promising career growth prospects, which might lead to an even higher salary.

Tip #3: Consider which company culture is better for you 

Company culture is a key consideration for jobseekers in today’s market. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about company culture during the interview process, and you can also seek information about a company’s culture online, such as reading employee reviews. By asking the right questions and learning from employees’ real experiences, you can build a more accurate picture of a company’s culture and make a more informed decision about how well you might be suited to the working environment.

Tip # 4: Take the driver’s seat 

Being up front about your expectations and timeline with employers can be a powerful negotiation tool, if used with caution. For example, setting out what you are hoping for in terms of salary or start date might influence your preferred employer to match a competing offer or even compel them to accelerate their hiring process.

Tip # 5: Be thoughtful but act fast 

Accepting a role is a major decision, so it’s not unreasonable to request a few days to contemplate your options – that said, you must also balance your thinking time with the importance of maintaining interest and not giving the impression you’re dragging your feet. When you arrive at your decision, always be gracious to the employers whose job offers you decline and take the earliest opportunity to politely explain why the offer did not meet your needs.