Salary package is most important for European employees, training comes last

14 January 2021

Within the context of work management, European employees attach the most importance to their salary package, although they find it difficult to discuss this with their employer. Job content and recognition follow in second and third place in terms of importance. This is what a European survey by HR and Payroll Specialist SD Worx shows.
The SD Worx survey examined what employees in Belgium, Germany, France, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom consider important in the context of their work. Most of them place salary at the very top. This is followed by job content and recognition , while job security comes in fourth. They put the working conditions and social environment at five and six.

Framework for better employee experience

It is noteworthy that employees cite their own development only as their tenth priority. Last of all are the corporate culture (11) and vision and policy (12).

Framework for better employee experience

“Insight into the priorities of employees can help optimise the employee experience”, says Cathy Geerts, Chief HR Officer at SD Worx. “A strong salary package does not depend only on the salary. Providing employees with the opportunity to fill in part of their own pay package, for example, is an important extra asset today. Personal contact with the employees and checking whether they are satisfied with their job content and giving them recognition when they deserve it are just as important aspects for improving the employee experience.”

To share the global idea, we based ourselves on how often the priorities appeared in the top three ranking. On average, pay is the absolute priority for an optimal working atmosphere, although research shows that the results do differ slightly according to the country. In Belgium, for example, job content is above the salary package, while French employees put their salary in only fourth place. They attach more importance to recognition (1), working conditions (2) and job content (3). In the United Kingdom, Germany and the Netherlands, however, salary is at the top of the list of priorities.

Not comfortable during salary negotiations

Although the pay package is in most cases the most important element in the work context for most employees, it remains a sensitive topic at the same time. Not everyone finds it easy to talk about it with the employer in question. The same study shows that almost half of the employees are uncomfortable with pay negotiations. 43 percent struggle with this. In France, this percentage even rises to exactly half of the employees. Dutch employees have less trouble with it: only 1 in 3 find it not so pleasant to talk about the salary package. In the United Kingdom (41.4%), Germany (43.3%) and Belgium (45.6%), more than four out of ten employees are not so happy to discuss their salaries with their employer.

You don't, of course, want employees to feel uncomfortable about something. That is why it is a real must these days to draw up a well-defined pay policy. Conversations about remuneration will then be much easier. A clear pay policy that feels fair and just, both internally, compared to colleagues and externally, as compared with similar profiles, automatically shifts the focus of employees towards their further development within the company and the contribution they make to the organisation. As a result, this may also improve their financial situation. In this way, awkward situations can easily be avoided and the efficiency of the company will only benefit", says Cathy Geerts.