Tag: Hybrid working

Search trend ‘hybrid working’ saw an increase of +250% in the past 12 months

A new study by live answering service, VoiceNation, has created a map of Europe, which shows the countries that prefer remote working, versus those that don’t.

Since the pandemic, remote working has become the new norm with very little sign of returning to full time, in-person working. And with the search trend ‘hybrid working’ seeing an increase of +250% in the past 12 months and over 822k remote jobs on LinkedIn, it is clear people are still very much interested in flexible working models.

But which countries are more in favour of remote working?

The study looked at positive and negative sentiments through Linkfluence.com, revealing which European countries are the most avid fans of remote working, and which aren’t.

Love WFH Love working in the office 
Austria Albania
Belgium Bosnia & Herzegovina
Bulgaria Germany
Chechia Greece
Croatia Italy
Denmark Russia
Estonia United Kingdom
Finland
France
Hungary
Iceland
Ireland
Latvia
Lithuania
Malta
Netherlands
Norway
Poland
Portugal
Romania
Slovakia
Slovenia
Spain
Sweden
Switzerland
Ukraine

The countries that love remote working the most 

Renowned for its great working environment, Iceland tops the list as the best country in Europe for remote working. Here, your working hours do not take up too much of your day, allowing you to spend time outside of work doing things you love and spending more time with family. Iceland already had a 4-day working week in place before the Covid-19 pandemic hit!

The other Nordic countries, including Norway, Denmark, Sweden, and Finland all had positive segments on remote working, and as they’re known for their great benefits and policies, it might be a perfect place to relocate if you’re interested in remote working while seeing new parts of the world!

With its strict COVID-19 regulations and lockdowns, France had to adjust itself to remote working, and it seems it’s there to stay. The people of France have come to terms with remote working after the pandemic and seem to prefer this way of working rather than working in the office every day.

In the Netherlands, remote working is a legal right by law, where your employer must review your request to work from home should you bring it up, so there’s nothing holding you back from working in a cute café tucked into a side street and exploring the many museums and other activities the Netherlands has to offer after working hours!

The countries that prefer working in an office

Some countries which preferred working in the office were Germany, Greece, and Italy. Here, it seems most workers liked the office environment, and preferred this to working from home. This could be due to a multitude of reasons, like socialising with your colleagues, getting out of the house and be out on the move every day.

Another country which had more negative sentiment than positive, was the UK. Lockdown forced many to work from home during the pandemic, but now that things have opened again, employees and employers alike are looking forward to getting back into the office, it seems.

There is no right or wrong opinion about remote working. Since it’s here to stay, more people will be able to find the set-up that is right for them, whether it’s going into the office often, or working from the comfort of their home.

Commenting on the study, a spokesperson at VoiceNation said, “We have most definitely seen a shift regarding working from home. The younger generations seem to prefer WFH, while older generations who are used to going in five days a week miss the office. Regardless of what you prefer, we hope our study can help people looking to perhaps relocate, or simply understand more about remote working!”

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Employees avoid working from home due to concerns over increase in energy costs

A new report published by Global expenses app, ExpenseOnDemand, shown that as the cost-of-living crisis starts to impact millions across the UK, travel expense claims are surging, as employees start to reduce time working at home to keep energy bills down. The data revealed that mileage and travel expense and claims have increased by 21% while entertainment claims by 15% showing that employees are spending more time out visiting contacts, clients, and colleagues.

According to the report, the trend for working from home is starting to shift as employees are leaving the house to keep energy costs down, however, the cost of the commute to the office doesn’t make going back to the workplace a viable option. Hence, many employees are focussed on meeting and entertaining clients and contacts as a way to spend time away from their home office during the working week. For those with cheaper commutes, many are heading back to the office for the majority of the week and this trend is expected to continue throughout winter.

Sunil Nigam, Founder at ExpenseOnDemand, commented, “We could be looking at a situation where workers want to spend more time meeting clients or in the office to better manage their domestic energy and electricity costs.

This trend is naturally causing a surge in employee expenses. Companies need to ensure they are equipped to manage claims and also monitor dubious expense claims, as employees may try to increase their income. We use advanced tech solutions to make managing expenses seamless, minimise bogus claims and help our clients ensure they aren’t overpaying on expenses.”

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Spain, Italy, and France are top destinations

According to new research, more than half (57%) of workers are planning to extend their holidays this year to work abroad.

The research undertaken by flexible workspace operator, IWG, revealed that 88% of workers plan to work from anywhere – UK or away – this year. Hybrid working has opened up opportunities for employees to work from anywhere, and many companies are responding accordingly. For example, companies such as Airbnb and Spotify have introduced work-from-anywhere policies to provide employees with flexibility when they travel.

The research showed that 67% of workers believe that they can perform their job effectively abroad, and a further 71% agreed that they would only consider a new job if it gave them the flexibility to work from anywhere for at least some of the time.

In terms of the benefits of working from anywhere, the following were cited:

  • Improved work-life balance (76%)
  • Spend more time with friends and family abroad (52%)
  • Saving money by travelling off-peak (47%)
  • Being able to enjoy longer holidays (30%)

Eighty-nine percent of office workers surveyed said they’re now more likely to work from anywhere than pre-pandemic. A further 83% believe that businesses’ adopting hybrid working has made this lifestyle possible.

‘Flexcations’ are also a popular perk. Seventy-six percent of respondents said they would be more inclined to work for a company offering frequent ‘flexcations’ as a perk.

The top locations for hybrid overseas workers:

  • Spain
  • Italy
  • France
  • United States
  • Greece

According to IWG’s office usage data in popular overseas locations for the start of summer:

  • Barcelona, Spain, saw a 168% increase in usage from June to July
  • Italy saw significant rises for its shared offices in Turin (+412%), Milan (+312%), and Rome (+137%).
  • France also recorded growth in its offices in Rennes (+249%), Lille (+155%), and Reims (+147%).

While employees are keen on making the best of the summer months, employers must update policies. Forty-one percent of employees said their employers did not have an official policy in place, and this was preventing them from working from anywhere.

Mark Dixon, IWG Founder and CEO, commented: “For an increasing number of workers, the days of the daily commute are over, now that hybrid working offers the opportunity to work wherever we will be the most productive. And thanks to cloud technology, that can be anywhere in the world, provided there’s a high-quality internet connection available.

“So, it’s no wonder that more and more individuals are embracing the idea of combining work with travel, whether it’s for a few days tacked on to the end of a vacation, or a few months as a digital nomad.

“This trend is set to accelerate further, and we will continue to see more and more companies embracing WFA policies to improve employees’ work-life balance and increase their attractiveness as an employer.”

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Only 6% likely to enter the Metaverse in the next 12 months

A new study has revealed that business leaders are enthusiastic about Metaverse working (the Metaverse is generally regarded as a network of 3-D virtual worlds where people can interact, do business, and forge social connections through their virtual “avatars.”) According to the study, two-thirds of leaders say Metaverse is the next step for hybrid working. Millions of workers, however, are concerned that their companies will be late adopters of the tech, and only 6% think their company will enter the Metaverse in the next 12 months.

The research undertaken by Regus found that 48% of businesses are looking for or building office space in virtual technology.

Leaders believe the Metaverse will significantly change how we work by enabling workers in different locations to interact via 3D avatars. Seventy percent think it will increase demand for flexible working by reducing the need for staff to work from the same office location.

It is also believed that the flexibility offered by the Metaverse will bring with it various other benefits, such as

  • More diverse workplaces (62%)
  • Improved mental health (57%)
  • Reduced presenteeism (54%)
  • Better relations between removed and office-based staff (54%)
  • New business opportunities (71%)

Despite bosses’ enthusiasm for the Metaverse, many office workers fear that businesses will be hesitant to take the plunge on the new tech:

  • 63% think their employer will wait to see how other businesses fare before investing in themselves
  • 46% think their company will be an early adopter of the Metaverse
  • Only 6% think their business will adopt the tech in the next 12 months
  • 33% expect it to take 3 to 4 years.

Employees appear to be enthusiastic about the quick adoption of the tech due to its perceived benefits such as:

  • Communication between team members (44%)
  • Teamwork (41%)
  • Remote working opportunities (40%)
  • Creativity (39%)

Concerning implementing the new tech, 56% of business leaders agree that shared office space will be key. In addition, 61% believe it will become essential for communications between different company offices.

In a different study, Regus found that three times as many FTSE 250 companies are planning to use a hybrid office model compared to those who plan to carry on as they were pre-pandemic. This suggests that the desire to work in the Metaverse will only increase.

Mark Dixon, Regus Founder and CEO, said: “Change in the world of work is almost always driven by technology. In the 90s email transformed the way we did business, while during the pandemic we turned to video conferencing to enable more effective working.”

“This data shows that business leaders expect the Metaverse to have a similarly transformative effect on hybrid working. It will enable better collaboration for people working all over the world, reducing the need to commute and allowing greater flexibility in people’s day to day working schedules.”

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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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How HR teams can manage difficult staffing decisions effectively

Fashion retailer Missguided has come under fire for the way it recently announced a number of redundancies.

Following its collapse into administration due to increased supply chain costs, inflation, and weakened consumer confidence, the Manchester-based retailer announced that 80 staff members were being made redundant.

Although redundancies are not good news for most employees, in the case of Missguided, it was how the announcement was handled that sparked controversy.

The i newspaper reported that staff were advised via two separate phone calls – one for staff whose jobs were safe and another for those who would be losing their jobs.

Ex-employees have claimed that:

  • Staff who were not working at the time as they were on holiday or maternity leave found out via colleagues and social media posts that they had been made redundant
  • Staff were only given 20 minutes’ notice ahead of the phone call
  • Staff did not know that two separate phone calls had been arranged
  • Staff were muted during the call and given no opportunity to speak
  • Employees who had lost their jobs were told not to return to the office and that their belongings would be returned to them
  • Security guards stopped sacked staff from entering the Manchester offices.

With remote and hybrid working, it is no surprise that companies use Zoom and other online mediums to announce major company decisions.

Missguided are not the only company to have taken this route. Earlier this year, P&O Ferries told hundreds of employees via a video recording that they were losing their jobs with immediate effect and were being replaced with cheaper agency staff.

Similarly, online US mortgage firm Better.com made 900 employees redundant via a Zoom call. Later, CEO Vishal Garg apologised for failing to show adequate “respect and appreciation” for the employees involved.

In 2020, workers at the ride-hailing firm Uber were told that they would lose their jobs via a three-minute video Zoom conference call.

Even though digital communications make sense in large organisations, hearing that one has lost a job via broadcast communication is less than ideal. Hearing the news from a line manager is a much better option.

Redundancy processes are stressful for employees and HR teams, so the process should always be handled sensitively and professionally. Honesty and clarity are key components of successful support.

Adele Edwin-Lamerton, Senior Associate, Employment at Kingsley Napley, said: “Due to the increase in hybrid working, meetings which previously would have only taken place in person now frequently occur remotely. Although this can feel impersonal, what is key is that the appropriate process is followed. It’s not so much the medium which is used, but the message it conveys which is important.”

“However pressed they are for time, employers should remember that they need to adopt a fair process and consult with their employees.”

Professor Jonathan Passmore, Senior Vice President at CoachHub, commented: “… as part of the C-Suite’s wider communication remit there is also a role to be played by a broadcast communication during the process of letting an employee go. This communication should explain more about the background to the decision, taking responsibility and sharing in the pain which such decisions cause for the individual, their family and the wider community, if the firm is a large local employer.”

“Technology is a facilitator of communications, but just because we can, does not mean we should. Leaders need to leverage technology while not losing sight of the humans who are receiving such messages. A broadcast message ensures everyone receives the same message, at the same time, but its strength is its weakness, as not every individual is the same. For some a redundancy may be welcome news, for others a mild disappointment, while for many it provokes both a financial and personal crisis.”

“At present, leaders have little training on digital communications and few organisations have protocols. As we move forward in 2022, business schools need to look again at what a leader in a hybrid world looks like and adjust what they teach. Meanwhile, organisations must look critically at their processes to ensure they still concentrate on the people which make up their organisation, putting into place support mechanisms such as workplace and career transition coaching, to help their employees navigate recent years’ life changes.”

Paul Holcroft, Associate Director at Croner, suggests: “Being made redundant can be an incredibly distressing time, so it is essential that employers maintain regular dialogue with affected staff.”

“Given the complexity of a redundancy procedure, employers should provide individuals with a clear explanation of their rights and a timeframe for when decisions will be made. This reduces any unnecessary stress and ill feeling among the workforce. Employees with a minimum of two years’ service are eligible for a reasonable amount of time off to look for new work or to arrange training for future employment.”

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The pandemic has stifled their career

According to a recent by Indeed, findings are on par with what HR experts know about Gen Z leading the Great Reshuffle. Likewise, the report builds on previous data wherein Gen Z feels disconnected and disadvantaged due to working remotely. In February 2022, Washington State University’s Carson College of Business reported that most of their Gen Z survey-takers felt that the COVID-19 pandemic stifled their career.

Indeed’s May 2022 report contextualizes these concerns with a fresh spin. Simply put, just because Gen Z feels as if they’re missing out on office work does not mean they want to start working in the office full time, if at all.

Flexibilty, as well as other perks, remains one of the ways employers can help attract and retain their young talent. Indeed’s research highlights that explicitly with the report finding that 95% of Gen Zers are considering a job with more work-from-home flexibility and 78% are actively looking for one.

Just less than half (47%) of Gen Z responders told Indeed they’re very likely to change jobs within the next 12 months, more than the slightly older cohort, millennials. Of those Gen Zers making moves to jump ship, 61% were driven by employers’ implementation of a return-to-office plan conflicting with their work from home desires.

Despite their concern, for example, more than half of Gen Zers interviewed by talent acquisition firm Lee Hecht Harrison reported career anxiety, young professionals don’t appear to be compromising on their values anytime soon. In fact, they want employers whose moral code matches theirs.

In summary, employers have two sure fire ways of attracting and retaining talent: Offer work flexibility and find define the employer brand so that candidates are attracted to who you are, not just what you do.

 

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Companies need to build wellness culture into business

There is no doubt that the thought of returning to work-life after COVID-19 is filling many employees with dread. More than two years of pandemic related uncertainty and stress have taken their toll on employees’ mental health.

Lockdowns sent us into survival mode, and it is only now, as life starts to get back to normal, that we begin to process the reality of what we’ve been through. There may still be safety concerns. Cognitively, employees may feel safe, but they may not feel emotionally safe. In addition, new habits have had two years to develop, and they may be a challenge to break.

But there are practical reasons too. A recent survey of 1,000 workers conducted by messaging app Slack suggests that almost two in five workers are stressed or anxious about going back to the office after more than two years at home. Concerns about work-life balance, the cost of travel and food were among the reasons for their stress.

The study revealed that 75% of workers had experienced burnout, and one-third had put in extra hours.

The study also found that only two in five respondents think their employers value their mental health, indicating how essential it is for businesses to provide more help.

Employers need to recognise and empathise with the different reasons that workers may be reluctant or anxious to return to the office.

Seventy percent of respondents agreed that a four-day workweek would help their mental health and wellbeing. Almost 50% believe that a hybrid work situation is the best approach for mental health, yet only 25% can choose whether or not they will work in the office.

Chris Mills, of Slack, said: “An employee who is cared for and supported will be inspired to do their best work.”

“It’s positive to see UK workers highlighting that hybrid work and technology has an important part to play in their wellbeing.”

“To ensure technology continues to be an enabler of healthier workplaces, leaders can also set a good example. Building best practices, for instance on how to use features like ‘do not disturb’ and scheduled messages to avoid out of office messaging, can be a great place to start.”

Charlène Gisèle, High Performance Coach and Burnout Advisor: “It is more important than ever for employers to integrate and incorporate a wellness culture embedded within the company. Offering wellness solutions goes beyond a gym membership – instead fostering a wellness culture is what a company ought to aim for.

Instead of focusing on concerns employees can focus on the positive aspects of being back in the office: camaraderie, being able to see colleagues again, and having social work life back on the horizon are all great for mental health as opposed to social/work isolation which many employees have faced during lockdown.”

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18% of employees will take a pay-cut to work for an NPO 

According to Aviva’s recent How We Live report, almost two thirds of workers (64%) would consider taking a pay cut if a new role offered other benefits with more than a fifth of workers (22%) stating they would think about taking a lower salary if they had the option to do hybrid working, while almost a third (31%) would do the same if they were able to choose flexible working hours. 

Almost a fifth of workers (18%) reported that they would be prepared to take a wage cut if they were going to work for a charity or not-for-profit organisation and 15% would do so if the company had strong environmental credentials. This view is higher amongst under-25s, with a quarter of people in this age group saying they would consider a lower salary for these reasons. 

Aviva’s previous How We Live report (November 2021) discovered two thirds of employees intend to make changes to their careers in the next 12 months. 

Aside from potential pay-cuts, the study found that around three fifths (58%) of UK workers would consider changing their current role for a “greener” career. 

The study suggested that this attitude is more prevalent in some sectors than others, with workers in finance and engineering / building among those most likely to hold this view at 70% in both cases. 

Industry   Percentage of workers who would consider switching to a “green” career 
Finance  70% 
Architecture, engineering and building  70% 
IT and telecoms  69% 
Legal  64% 
Manufacturing and utilities  63% 
Healthcare  58% 
Education  58% 
Retail, catering and leisure  57% 
Travel and transport  54% 

Green schemes in the workplace 

However, there is increasing evidence that employers are becoming greener with three quarters of workers saying their employer has made changes to improve its environmental impact in the last five years – although 75% of people within this group feel there is still more to do. 

More than a fifth (21%) of workers say they are already participating in initiatives to make their employer more environmentally-friendly, while an additional 50% of employees would like to get more involved in this area. 

The report also reported welcomed news regarding the uptake of existing “green” schemes with current employers with the majority of employees saying that their organisations offer some initiatives aimed at reducing their impact on the planet, ranging from cycle-to-work programmes, to removing single-use plastic from workplaces, to electric vehicle leasing schemes. 

 

Workplace scheme for employees  Percentage of employees saying scheme is offered at their workplace  Estimated number of UK employees able to make use of such a scheme*  
Cycle-to-work / bike loan scheme  68%  22.1 million 
Subsidised public transport / loans for transport season tickets  60%  19.5 million 
Removing single-use plastic from the workplace  77%  25 million 
Paperless office  71%  23.1 million 
Vegan / vegetarian options in workplace canteens  70%  22.7 million 
Hybrid / remote working (to reduce commuter pollution)  67%  21.8 million 
Making use of video calls to reduce unnecessary travel  79%  25.7 million 
Using refillable cups for drinks  85%  27.6 million 
Volunteering through environmentally-friendly workplace schemes  60%  19.5 million 
Electrical vehicle (EV) leasing scheme  55%  17.9 million 

Jon Marsh, MD, Partnerships, Aviva General Insurance says:“Sustainability is very much on the radar for businesses large and small and it is positive news that so many UK people are bringing green thinking into their working routines, as well as their personal lives.  

“The latest How We Live data shows that a great many employees are already involved in environmental initiatives in their workplace – from simply re-using cups, to limiting unnecessary travel, to making use of electric vehicle leasing schemes.   

“Three quarters of workers acknowledge that their employer has made environmental progress in the past five years – but they want to do more to make a difference. This could mean actions taken in a current role or switching to a position with a more environmental focus – but the emphasis on green career ambitions is clear.” 

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68% admitted that they are concerned it will have a negative impact on their career 

According to new research from people analytics company Visier, more than three quarters (76%) of Brits have admitted they’ve been ghosted by an employer or prospective employer in the past 18 months, despite over half (59%) having ghosted themselves.

The study asked 1,000 UK employees who have looked for work during in the past 18 months about their experiences with ghosting, using Psychology Today’s definition of the term as ‘abruptly ending communication with someone without explanation’ in association with the workplace from recruitment through to starting a new role.

The survey’s findings indicated that ghosting has become an accepted phenomenon in the workplace, with 37% of Brits admitting to ghosting an employer in the last 18 months, 30% ghosting a potential employer and 10% to both. This is despite more than a third of Brits stating that they’d be angrier if an employer or prospective employer ghosted them, than they would be if they were stood up by a date.

Hypocritical Britain 

Study results insinuate that employees are perpetuating the poor behaviours they hate from their prospective employer counterparts because when it comes to these behaviours, job seekers’ willingness to ghost increased steadily with job level seniority, which, the study suggests means that the more senior the worker, the more comfortable they are with ghosting their current or prospective employer.

According to results, the highest levels reported that they had ghosted a current or prospective employer within the last 18 months: C-Suite (95%), mid-level management (84%), first-level management (67%), entry-level (48%).

Professional ‘Ghosters’ 

The research also served as a stark reminder that ghosting is no new fad. It’s been around for some time and it’s a trend that is likely to pertain, especially as an increasingly buoyant labour market and skills shortages across almost every industry place more power into the hands of employees. In fact, some 61% of job seekers say they feel perfectly comfortable with ghosting an employer or prospective employer.

And, with more job opportunities available because of the hybrid working model (46%), a less personal recruitment process (45%) and the fact that ghosting is so common (37%), job seekers admitted in the survey that the pandemic has made them more likely to partake in ghosting.

The challenge for employers in the current candidate-driven market is that the right position, right salary and good company culture are not enough. The interview itself must be a top-notch experience to attract prospective candidates to a company. A negative first impression (25%) was cited as the number one reason job seekers have ghosted their employer or prospective employer, followed closely by the job role being inaccurate (24%) and a lower salary than expected (24%).

In spite of Brits’ willingness to engage in ghosting, the survey revealed that an overwhelming 68% admitted that they are concerned about the negative impact it may have on them and their career. It’s clear that a level of cognitive dissonance is at play. Despite understanding the potential negative impacts of doing this, job seekers at all levels are willing to do it anyway.

Daniel Mason, VP EMEA of Visier commented: “As recruitment teams continue to rethink their hiring strategies in line with the ‘Great Resignation’ now is the time to also implement measures that can reduce the fallout of job seeker ghosting. Embedding people data into every stage of the recruitment and employee engagement process is one way that recruitment teams can interest potential candidates and retain them. For example, by using data to highlight at which stage a job seeker is most likely to leave the recruitment process, more emphasis can be placed on improving the overall experience based on what the data is telling us prospective employers expect”.

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