Employee preferences shifting towards higher salary and job security due to pandemic

Here are the winners of the Most Attractive Employer Award and the results of our job preferences survey

Base salary has gained in importance compared to last year and, together with flexible work options and a predictable work schedule, ranks at the top of employees’ job preferences in 2020. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, job security has made it into the top fifteen, while the popularity of regular team-building events has understandably declined. This year, PwC Hungary has surveyed job preferences in Hungary for the fourth time. This time around, in addition to young hires, PwC’s experts have mapped out the needs of the entire labour market.

As in previous years, PwC Hungary has once again conducted its employee preference survey. This year, in addition to students and career starters, PwC has also assessed the job expectations of experienced workers. In addition to Hungary, ten other European countries have also participated in the research, which was supplemented this year with an employer brand perception survey. Of the nearly 35,000 Hungarian respondents, 35 percent are in higher education, 14 percent are high school students, and 50 percent are already employed.

“This year, we’ve further expanded the survey to help Hungarian companies better understand the expectations of prospective hires. Experienced workers have gained in status in recent times, so it is important that employers are aware of their needs as well.”

– said Róbert Bencze, Director of People & Organisation, HR Consulting Services at PwC Hungary.

Base salary is all important

According to the survey findings, base salary (1st) has significantly gained in importance for respondents aged between 16 and 28 compared to three years ago, while flexible work options (2nd) which facilitate work-life balance and a predictable work schedule (3rd) remain highly important. An important change compared to last year is that rapport with co-workers has moved up two places in the rankings (from 6th to 4th), overtaking interesting and challenging work (5th), overtime pay (6th) and the management style of the immediate superior (7th).

Most Attractive Employer Hungary 2020 English Version

Another change from last year is that support for higher education studies (10th) has made it onto the list: it is important for young workers that their employer facilitate their studies through flexible work options or financial support. Job security (12th) is also a new item on the list of employee preferences. It has become important for companies during the COVID-19 pandemic to take responsibility for their employees and strive to retain them even in the event of an economic downturn.

Experienced hires and career starters have different expectations

Comparing respondents aged under 28 and respondents aged 28 or above, we can observe that while base salary and flexible work options are important for both groups, these factors play a more prominent role for those over 28. For experienced hires, the management style of the immediate superior is more important, as they know from experience how much this matters. For older workers, career advancement based on actual job performance, the option to work remotely, job security, cafeteria and bonuses are also more important than for younger workers.

“The survey findings shed light on what factors companies need to consider depending on whether they want to attract career starters or more experienced employees, as these two groups select their future workplace based on different preferences.”

– said Zoltán Örkényi, Manager at People & Organisation, HR Consulting Services, PwC Hungary.

CEE preferences fall between Russia and Western Europe

PwC’s job preferences survey debuted at a European level this year. According to the survey results, remuneration expectations are the highest in Russia, with salary-related elements playing a crucial role for employees. There are hardly any items on the list of preferences of Russian workers that favour cooperation or communication. By contrast, in Western Europe, presumably due to significantly higher living standards, base salary only ranked fourth and interesting and challenging work topped the list. In Russia, interesting and challenging work fell short of even the top fifteen.

Compared to job preferences in Russia and Central Europe, in Western Europe, top lists include more cultural elements, and aspects related to transparent business operations are valued higher. Overall, the ideal workplace for Western European respondents is one with a positive mindset that fosters communication and cooperation, while financial elements are secondary. Central Europe lies in between the Russian and the Western set of preferences: financial benefits are deemed to be less important than in Russia, but more important than in Western Europe. The desire for challenging work based on communication and cooperation is stronger than in Russia, but not as strong as in Western Europe.

PwC’s Most Attractive Employer 2020 Award industry category winners

Although from this year PwC’s survey targets all generations, the Most Attractive Employer Award is still given by the votes of respondents aged between 16-28, based on open-ended survey responses.

Automotive manufacturers

  1. Audi Hungaria
  2. Mercedes-Benz
  3. BMW

Energy and public utilities

  1. MOL Group
  2. MVM Group
  3. E.ON


  1. Coca-Cola Hungary
  2. Nestlé
  3. Unilever


  1. Bosch Group
  2. Continental
  3. LEGO


  1. Richter Gedeon
  2. Egis
  3. Sanofi


  1. OTP Bank
  2. Magyar Nemzeti Bank
  3. K&H Bank


  1. Lidl
  2. IKEA
  3. Tesco


  1. Morgan Stanley Hungary
  2. Deutsche Telekom Systems Solutions Hungary
  3. BlackRock


  1. Microsoft Hungary
  2. Samsung
  3. IBM

Telecommunications and media

  1. Magyar Telekom
  2. Vodafone
  3. RTL Magyarország

PwC’s Most Attractive Employer 2020 Award no. 1 overall ranking

Audi Hungaria

Notes to editors:

In this year’s online survey, PwC Hungary asked high school students aged over 16, higher education students and employees about what they look for in a job, what expectations they have of employers, and what employer brands they find the most attractive in Hungary. PwC’s Most Attractive Employer 2020 Awards were given in ten industry categories and one overall category, based on responses received from participants aged 16-28 (responses were “top of mind,” and the most mentioned Hungarian employer brands received the award). The industry classification was carried out primarily on the basis of respondents’ perceptions as well as each brand’s self-definition. Although data collection is ongoing, the awards were given based on responses received during our campaign between 1 September and 31 October 2020.

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© 2020 PwC. All rights reserved. In this document, “PwC” refers to the PwC network and/or one or more of its member firms in Hungary, each of which is a separate legal entity. For more information, please visit the http://www.pwc.com/structure website.

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Cecília Szőke

Cecília Szőke

PR Senior Manager, PwC Hungary

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