• Facilitating remote work (57%), providing mental wellbeing support (55%) and permanently increasing salaries (53%) are among the most popular ways employers say they are helping employees with the rising cost of living.
  • Medium-sized businesses are doing the most to help employees with the rising cost of living.
  • Just 11% of employers say their organisation is not taking steps to support employees with the rising costs of living.

Sydney, 22 February 2023 – Employers are recognising that many of their employees are struggling to keep up with the pressures of inflation and the rising cost of living in 2023. New independent research by specialised recruiter Robert Half finds that almost nine in 10 (89%) employers have taken action in their organisation to support employees with the rising cost of living, including more than half (53%) providing staff with a permanent pay rise.

Financial and non-financial support being provided

Employers are most commonly providing non-financial support to help their staff battle rising costs, by extending remote working options to reduce travel costs for staff (57%) and providing mental wellbeing support (55%). Working remotely can mean significant savings in public transport, fuel and parking, with transport costs in Australia rising by 8% in 20221.

Significantly, more employers are providing direct financial support to employees than those who are not. In addition to the 53% providing a permanent salary increase, other financial support measures include one-off bonuses (49%) and allowing workers to sell annual leave days (44%). Almost half (45%) are allowing employees to access earned wages before payday. To immediately ease the burden of food costs rising 9.2% in 20222 and to boost morale, 44% of employers are subsidising employees’ meals at work and 50% are giving employees gifts.

Delivering education support

As inflation rose during 2022 to reach an annual peak of 7.3% in 2022 - its highest level since the late 1980s3 – employers also offered employees support that will help them meet living costs in 2023 and longer term. Delivering financial management training (43%), introducing new salary sacrifice schemes (45%) and offering income stream services (45%) are measures employers are taking to give employees skills and services to become financially better off.

However, 11% of employers say their organisation is not taking steps to assist their employees with the rising cost of living. These employers run the risk of losing top talent, who might not feel supported in facing this time of financial pressures and uncertainty and may decide to find work at an organisation that will offer more comprehensive support.

“With changing economic conditions, savvy employers are stepping up to address the rising cost of living to ensure employees are being supported. They know that not taking any measures is risky and can lead to the loss of great talent, particularly when they observe the ways in which other employers are supporting their staff,” said Andrew Brushfield, Director at Robert Half.

Medium-sized employers are the most proactive in supporting staff

When compared to small and large-sized businesses, medium-sized organisations – those with between 20 and 199 employees – are taking the most actions to help staff with the rising cost of living. In every strategy measured, more medium-sized businesses are offering measures than small or large companies. While small companies are less inclined to provide financial support, they are reverting to non-financial ways to help employees with the cost of living by extending remote work opportunities (47%), giving gifts to increase morale (44%) and subsidising employees' in-work meals (39%) being their top measures. Comparatively, large businesses are most commonly providing mental wellbeing support through an employee assistance programme (65%) to support their staff.

“With inflation increasing and with many companies unable to offer salary increases to keep pace, some are reverting to their benefits offerings to attract and retain staff. Support doesn’t just have to be financial, and providing counselling or mental health assistance and allowing staff to work from home can make an employee feel they are supported. Companies are being creative, focusing on a mix of wellbeing, flexibility and other perks to help their staff enjoy a more positive working experience.”

“While not all businesses have the budget to be able to implement many of the changes, they can still focus on implementing measures that do not require high upfront costs to still show their support to employees. In addition to non-financial support, companies must still consider the financial incentives that can be offered and can directly assist employees during this time of rising cost of living. Salary remains a top priority for most in today’s market. If no strategies are in place, companies run the risk of losing employees to businesses who recognise and are willing to take action from a financial point of view.”

“Finally, employers should have ongoing open conversations with their employees on what motivates them, which can allow for new ideas as to what employees need,” concluded Brushfield.



1. ABS Consumer Price Index

2. ABS Consumer Price Index

3. Reserve Bank of Australia, Measures of Consumer Price Inflation

Notes to editors

About the research

The study is developed by Robert Half and was conducted online in November 2022 by an independent research company, surveying 300 hiring managers, including 100 CFOs and 100 CIOs, from companies across Australia. This survey is part of the international workplace survey, a questionnaire about job trends, talent management, and trends in the workplace.

For enquiries, please contact:

Courtney Fletcher


+61 421 209 304