Humane leadership and fair compensation make a workplace attractive


Human aspects have gained importance among employee preferences. PwC Hungary has surveyed labour market preferences for the seventh time this year and presented the Most Attractive Employer of the Year awards.

Given the persistently high rate of inflation, workplaces that offer monetary benefits in addition to a competitive base salary are the most attractive. However, job content, respect for work-life balance, and the growing role of teams and leaders all show that working conditions that are primarily influenced by immediate superiors are also important to employees. More than 80,000 Hungarian respondents – young people and experienced professionals – have shared their job preferences in PwC Hungary’s 2023 Employee Preference Survey and identified the employers they find the most attractive.

Base salary is more important than workplace stability

Hungarian companies continue to compete fiercely for skilled labour. The effects of an ageing society on the labour market, falling unemployment, the growing role of digital skills, and the emergence of new enterprises in the market pose significant challenges for recruiters. Many of them expected the large downsizing wave to ease the pressure on the labour market after last year’s low point, but this has not happened so far. The candidate-driven market is clearly reflected in employee preferences: while workplace stability was a top priority last year (3rd place), this year it appears that employees are less concerned about losing their jobs and are focusing more on factors such as increasing base salary or achieving work-life balance.

1. Base salary
2. Bonus
3. Overtime pay
4. Meaningful, value-creating work
5. Respecting work-life balance
6. Supportive, collaborative team
7. Work that can be done within work hours
8. Flexible work hours
9. Professionally competent leaders
10. Clear expectations from leaders
1. Base salary
2. Overtime pay
3. Career opportunities
4. Bonus
5. Training opportunities
6. Meaningful, value-creating work
7. A work environment that promotes well-being and comfort
8. Respecting work-life balance
9. Supportive, collaborative team
10. Professionally competent leaders

The top 10 factors in choosing a workplace for employee and student respondents

The continuous decline in real wages is a sore point

Companies have hardly been able to fully offset the inflation that eats away at wages, so most Hungarian employees have seen their real wages decrease, and maintaining their standard of living has become a critical issue. Therefore, it is not surprising that monetary compensation has become even more important compared to last year: in addition to base salary and overtime pay, bonuses (3rd most important) and in certain segments, monthly performance-based pay (e.g. 5th most important for vocational school students), have also appeared. PwC’s 2023 Global Hopes & Fears Survey also supports the global trend that employees primarily seek pay raises (42%), followed by promotion requests (35%), and finally changing jobs (28%) to compensate and are more likely to consider quitting if they feel overworked (44%), struggle to pay their monthly bills (38%), or are members of Generation Z (35%).

Leaders in the public eye

In last year’s survey, due to economic and social shocks (the war in Ukraine and the energy crisis), human factors such as the role of leaders or the team’s retention power were of secondary importance. However, this year’s results show that people have begun to adapt to the constantly changing and unpredictable environment. At the same time, they have realized that instead of coping on their own, they should rely more on each other, including colleagues and superiors, which was even more pronounced among the working age group (6th place).

The increased role of leaders is also shown by the emergence of other preferences: job content (4th place), respect for work-life balance (5th), the amount of work that can be done within working hours (7th), and clear expectations from leaders (10th) – no wonder, as both retaining and attracting talent depend on the leaders’ personality, competencies, and style.

“The spotlight is on leaders: candidates are not only choosing a job, but also a leader. As a result, there is increasing pressure on HR experts to prepare leaders for the credible communication of the employer’s value proposition and its implementation in everyday operations,”

emphasised Márta Reguly, head of PwC Hungary’s HR consulting team.

Employees are aware of the additional burdens on leaders, and the weakening of preferences for career and training opportunities also suggests that they do not necessarily want the responsibility that comes with a leadership role – probably because they have had enough of having to cope with constant change. However, this causes serious difficulties because while digital skills development is a strategic focus at many large companies, respondents’ motivation to learn is quite low (training opportunities: 19th place).

Weary employees, ambitious students

It is clear from students’ responses how different their expectations are compared to experienced employees. Rapid career advancement (career opportunities: 3rd place) and continuous development (training opportunities: 5th) are particularly important for young people, while more experienced employees desire more respect for work-life balance (5th) and a supportive, collaborative team (6th). Career opportunities did not even make it into the top ten preferences for experienced employees.

“While we sense a kind of weariness among experienced employees regarding training and career, the younger generation is still very ambitious: they purposefully plan and build their careers and expect their employer to promote them within a reasonable time,”

adds Márta Reguly.

Employer value proposition tailored to local conditions

In the fight for talent, employer branding is essential, which means that companies must distinguish themselves in the labour market and offer a unique value proposition to their target group. This proposition will be truly attractive if it is not only a global brand promise, but a unique offer tailored to the local labour market. Our survey also highlights that, in addition to monetary factors, the leaders’ personality, their inspiring and caring attitude, should be emphasised and developed, making it more visible to candidates. It is therefore essential for every organisation to develop a unique corporate culture that enables them to position themselves positively among stakeholders.

PwC’s Most Attractive Employer 2023 Award industry category winners

PwC’s Most Attractive Employer 2023 Awards were given in ten industry categories and one overall category, based on responses received from participants.

As in the previous year, large automotive manufacturers proved to be the most attractive in the Hungarian labour market. They are seen as stable, long-term employers who, in addition to offering a competitive salary, can appeal to many segments of the labour market (candidates with engineering, IT, financial, or humanities backgrounds). The assessment of a company also depends on how much an attractive commercial brand can support the employer brand: a strong brand and a tangible product will also strengthen the employer brand.

Automotive manufacturers

1. Audi Hungaria

2. Mercedes-Benz

3. BMW

Energy and public utilities

1. MOL Magyarország

2. MVM Group

3. E.ON


1. Coca-Cola

2. Procter & Gamble

2. Nestlé


1. Bosch Group


3. Siemens


  1. Richter Gedeon

  2. Egis

  3. Roche


  1. Lidl Magyarország

  2. IKEA

  3. Aldi Magyarország

Financial service providers

  1. OTP Bank

  2. Morgan Stanley

  3. Magyar Nemzeti Bank

Shared services centres

  1. bp Hungary

  2. Diageo

  3. British Telecom


  1. Microsoft

  2. Samsung

  3. IBM

Telecommunications and media

  1. Magyar Telekom

  2. Deutsche Telekom IT Solutions

  3. Vodafone

Most Attractive Employer 2023 – Overall

1. Audi Hungaria

2. Bosch Group

3. Mercedes-Benz


Notes to editors


In this year’s online survey, PwC Hungary asked high school students aged over 14, 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. More than 100,000 people have completed the questionnaire.

PwC’s Most Attractive Employer 2023 Awards were given in ten industry categories and one overall category, based on responses received from participants. (Responses were “top of mind,” and the most mentioned Hungarian employer brands received the award. Responses from vocational training centres were not considered in the awarding of prizes to avoid methodological distortions and ensure comparability.) The industry classification was based on respondents’ perceptions and individual insights related to each brand. Although data collection is ongoing, the awards were given based on responses received during our campaign between 1 September and 31 October 2023.

You can find earlier press materials on our website.

Our most recent Sustainability Report is available on our Corporate Responsibility website.

With offices in 151 countries and more than 327,000 people, we are among the leading professional services networks in the world. We help organisations and individuals create the value they’re looking for, by delivering quality in assurance, tax and advisory services. If you would like to find out more about our firm, please visit us at

© 2023 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

Contact us

Cecília Szőke

Cecília Szőke

PR Senior Manager, PwC Hungary

Follow us