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Employees want flexible working even more than performance-related bonuses

Flexible working is the most valued benefit for employees, ahead of employee benefits such as bonuses, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Flexible working arrangements were rated the most important benefit by 47% of those surveyed, above performance-related bonuses, which came second (19%).

Flexible working was given equal priority by men and women, with 41% and 54% respectively ranking this benefit the most valuable.  And a better work-life balance was seen as more achievable in the long term by 42% respondents than vastly increased responsibility and salary (39%).

Michael Rendell, head of human resource services at PricewaterhouseCoopers, said: "Two years of recession have changed people's attitude towards work. With companies mindful of taking on new employees, existing staff have been expected to do more with less. Our survey indicates that employees may be feeling the pressure, with large numbers hoping for a better work-life balance in the future, and half saying they would rather work for themselves.

"With bonuses unpredictable in uncertain economic conditions, employees are looking for broader benefits.

"Companies that can adapt to the UK's growing flexible working culture will be best placed to sustain morale and retain top talent when the job market becomes more buoyant."