Tag: employee benefits

Half of workers dismiss jobs that do not offer hybrid working

According to new research by IWG, hybrid working is now the most sought-after benefit for job seekers. The research showed large numbers of office workers out flexible working alongside other benefits such as health insurance and group income protection (88%), life insurance (84%), unlimited vacation (76%), and extended parental leave (71%) as important benefits in a new role.

The survey was conducted among 2,000 office workers to understand better the key factors driving jobseekers’ decision-making.

The jobs website Indeed revealed that ‘hybrid’ is one of the fastest-growing search terms, having increased by 6,531% in the last 12 months. In addition, according to IWG’s research, half of workers would immediately dismiss jobs that do not offer hybrid working.

Job seekers also highly value the opportunity to work remotely. Searches for remote work have also risen by 666% and now account for 2.3% of all searches. Sixty percent of respondents stated they would like to work within 15 minutes of their home.

According to the research, office workers’ top five considerations when applying for a new role are:

  • Hybrid working (43%)
  • New colleagues (32%)
  • Potential for progression (30 %)
  • Company culture (27%)
  • Equity and bonuses (27%)

Half of office workers (49%) said they would immediately rule out jobs that didn’t offer hybrid working. Sixty-seven percent said it improved work/life balance. A further 37% mentioned improved mental health and wellbeing as a benefit. Reduction in commuting load was another benefit (36%). Thirty-one percent said it enhanced productivity.

IWG also provided data that indicates how the popularity of hybrid working is increasing the demand for suburban and rural office space. Demand for rural and suburban office space increased by 29% in 2021. Locations such as Bromsgrove (+52%), Beaconsfield (+33%), and Tewkesbury (+22%) rose in popularity.

Bruce Daisley, Author of The Joy of Work and former EMEA Vice-President of Twitter, said: “We’re right at the start of the biggest transformation in the way we work that we’ve ever witnessed. The biggest danger for firms is thinking that we’re the end of the change; we’re just at the start and companies need to prepare themselves.”

Mark Dixon, CEO of IWG, commented: “With a buoyant job market after a challenging couple of years, workers are demanding more of their employers and their roles. Gone are the days when salary was the only factor when considering a job offer, and nothing better demonstrates this than the rise of hybrid working.”

“Daily commuting is an expensive and unnecessary practice, and it’s clear to see that workers around the UK are taking back control of this time. Employers who don’t offer hybrid working are going to miss out on the best talent. Not only do employees benefit from a dramatically improved work-life balance, but by switching to a hybrid model, businesses can expect to save an average of more than £8,000 per employee, all while minimising their carbon footprint.”

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Is this perk the answer to stress and burnout?

Investment bank Goldman Sachs announced in April that they were moving their senior employees onto a ‘flexible vacation’ policy, allowing for time off when needed instead of fixed maximum days per annum. Junior staff will still receive the statutory leave requirements.

The new policy requires all employees to take at least 15 days off, this in an attempt to change a culture that has previously left bankers depleted and exhausted.

This move can be a powerful recruiting tool. A recent Fortune and Harris Poll survey showed that half of employees preferred the idea of having unlimited paid time off to a higher salary.

For the most part, this move is applauded by employees and observers, especially in light of an increasingly burnt-out workforce.

The question is whether this is the great benefit everyone expects it to be and whether it will change the culture in a competitive environment such as Goldman Sachs?

Kiki Stannard, Managing Director at ZEDRA, commented: “It’s well known that employers are determined to keep their best and brightest employees, particularly those who work the hardest and contribute the most. With 24/7 connectivity nearly everywhere globally, finding time away from the demands of a stressful job are becoming more and more difficult. It is often a challenge for those in the highest demand to get a decent amount of time off to rest and recuperate properly –  both physically and mentally –  never more so than in the world of financial services.

It may have come as a surprise to many to read that internationally renowned investment bank, Goldman Sachs, announced that senior staff are being moved to a ‘flexible vacation’ policy which will permit time off when needed and not adhering to fixed maximum days per annum.

Having been hailed as progressive for the industry and designed to encourage a decent amount of time off to support health and wellbeing (there will be a minimum level of time off for junior staff which aligns with the statutory requirement in any event), will there really be any change in culture or attitude at Goldman Sachs – often viewed as fiercely competitive?

In the US, the tech sector has actually been offering unlimited vacation for many years which might sound like a significant benefit where vacation is around ten days plus public holidays.

The reality however can be quite different.

  • The unlimited vacation is only on the basis that the employee’s work is done, or the break will not disrupt the business, often leading to employees logging on regularly whilst they are away
  • Confusion can arise around the use of the policy and different interpretations as to exactly what amount is acceptable as ‘unlimited’ according to who your line manager happens to be
  • There can be an inclination to cancel a day’s leave when something urgent comes up at work
  • Blurring of the lines can be seen where there is a performance issue requiring careful management or additional employee support
  • Does unlimited vacation just mask real sick days?
  • Does unlimited vacation result in a duvet day for anyone who is just not that motivated?
  • How can you shake that Monday morning feeling when you know that not turning up today is ok?

Unlimited holidays can work for some businesses and sectors, but this type of policy won’t work for every company. In today’s environment it might act as a great benefit to entice new, often younger, starters to join a company. It’s always important to engage with staff and key stakeholders to get a better idea of the appetite for such a policy before committing and if there is desire, prepare thoroughly to avoid any negative ramifications to individual staff and company morale.”

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Employers offer benefits to emerging talent

According to the National Associate of Colleges and Employers (NACE), the average hourly wage for bachelor’s-level interns from the class of 2020-2021 rose to $20.82.

“The average hourly wage for interns is the highest hourly wage that has been reported,” said Shawn VanDerziel, NACE’s executive director.

He made further comment: “Moreover, it is important to consider the context: The last two summers have been particularly challenging for employers as they grappled with managing their internship programs during a pandemic, but they wanted to remain competitive and raised wages. Our studies show that the market is hot right now for both full-time hires and interns. We expect that hourly wages for summer 2022 interns will reflect that.”

Many employers have reportedly also offered benefits to interns. Examples include planned social activities, offered by 79.0%, and paid holidays, provided by 55.1%. In addition, 23.2% offered their interns 401(k) plans.

VanDerziel said interns also receive work experience that can make them attractive to potential employers.

NACE reported nearly two-thirds of class of 2020 – 2021 interns’ time at work, 36.1%, was spent on a combination of analytical/problem-solving work and 27.3% on project management duties.

In a tight and talent scarce market, the ‘grow your own’ mentality is one that will not only support the retention of staff but will also ensure a solid talent pipeline for growing businesses.

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