Salary packages are now the number one priority for employees when it comes to career management, according to a new survey.

With more people losing their jobs as a result of the economic impact of lockdown restrictions, workers’ biggest concern is their financial security, the study suggests.

The research was conducted by HR and payroll firm, SD Worx, examining employee attitudes across Belgium, Germany, France, Netherlands and the UK.

Nearly three in ten UK workers said they feel comfortable negotiating or asking for a higher salary. One of the main driving forces, the survey found, is knowing how salaries can be optimised to maximise employee take-home pay, according to 38% of UK workers. Transparency with employee rewards was also a big factor, with nearly half (45%) highlighting the ability to know everything their employer offers as very important.

Job requirements and job security were the second and third most important priorities, the survey found. With furlough having been extended across the UK, many employees are considering expanding their skills in order to adapt to wider roles and increase the chances of keeping a job in the current climate.

It also appears that employees have further turned their focus inward, with ‘company culture’ now the 11th highest priority and ‘vision and policy’ now 12th, the lowest regarded priorities, despite having gone through a spell among the highest priorities in recent years. Despite businesses encouraging employees to band together over the course of the pandemic, questions arise as to how much social distancing has impacted the social and cultural element of the workforce.

“Since March last year, businesses globally have tried to understand how the pandemic has impacted the workforce and what implications would come out of it. And it hasn’t always been clear. But this research highlights just how employee motivations are evolving in this era, with UK employees looking at ways to better themselves and solidify their future in unprecedented times.”

Cathy Geerts, chief HR officer at SD Worx