Tag: Flexible Working

UK employees spend less time in the office than global counterparts

Flexible-working is the new battleground for talent – with a number of employers and employees at odds with ways of working. The battle lines have been drawn up; one side UK workers, are spending less time in the office than any other country, while on the other is the UK’s Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, strongly urging employees to get back into the office to boost productivity. The clash of the cultures continues.

The conflict between flexible working vs working in the office rages on with no signs of abating. Last month Jeremy Hunt called for working in the office to be the new “default” contradicting the UK worker’s drive to work from home. He believes workers who permanently work from home are missing out on building team spirit and the “water cooler moments,” adding: “There’s nothing like sitting around a table, seeing people face to face.”  While admitting hybrid working had its benefits – especially for those with caring commitments and mobility issues – he worries long term about the “loss of creativity.”


This is backed up by research from Right Management UK arguing 38% of senior business leaders believe remote workers are less likely to spend any time with their senior managers and 26% of senior leaders say hybrid workers are less likely to be considered for promotion.

However, this isn’t a view echoed by all industry leaders, with some believing flexi-working is critical to businesses retaining the best talent and maintaining a competitive edge, Paul Devoy, CEO of Investors in People, said the chancellor was looking at remote and flexible working through a: “Very narrow lens – especially as his opinions on office work bestows some mythical magic on the office.”

According to a recent study; Returning for Good, a Unispace Global Workplace Insights report,  it appears UK employees are firmly in the driving seat when it comes to knowing where and how they want to work – with only 34% of UK employees currently in the office four or more days a week – below the global average of 50%. Despite these comparatively low attendance levels, employees want to reduce the number of days spent in the workplace even further, with just 21% of workers in the UK currently happy to spend four or more days per week in the office.

This data highlights a gaping misalignment between the expectations of employers and employees, with 74% of UK firms expecting increased office attendance compared to only 53% of UK workers expecting to eventually be in the office at least four days a week. In the war for talent, enforcing working from home policies could be greatly damaging for employers with career progression at risk with 75% of businesses stating this is limited for hybrid workers. Some believe hybrid working has a negative impact on not only career progression, but also; pay rises, promotions and bonuses.

With the increasing demand for flexi-working, it appears, the mindset of employees keen to balance their personal and professional lives is unlikely to change – especially during the cost-of-living crisis driving up transport costs, for this reason alone, it makes economic sense to work from home.

Aside from recognising that many frontline workers are unable to work from home – no one can deny that hybrid working is here to stay in the UK – employers can’t push the genie back into the bottle! For working harmony, employers need to adapt and find a compromise which supports both business productivity and staff wellbeing. It comes down to a balancing act between meeting the needs of the business as well as the expectations of the current staff, as well as attracting and retaining the best talent. Rolling back on the flexibility gains seems counter intuitive and a huge step backwards and will certainly hinder an employer’s fight for hard-won talent.

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Families face challenges in child care

According to a report from child care provider Bright Horizons on May 15, working parents are facing challenges in achieving work-life balance, child care, and combating loneliness, despite the flexibility offered by remote work arrangements.

Approximately 58% of working parents expressed relief and fulfillment from increased schedule flexibility. However, remote or hybrid work settings can lead to feelings of isolation. Around 47% of respondents reported only interacting with individuals in their household, while 41% said they went days without stepping foot outside their homes. Gen Z and Millennial parents appeared to be particularly impacted by these difficulties.

Bright Horizons CEO, Stephen Kramer, stated, “Many working parents are facing personal and professional struggles. While they have embraced a more flexible work environment, unintended consequences have emerged, affecting their mental well-being and ability to manage their responsibilities.”

Kramer emphasized the need for employers to step in and address these challenges, calling for well-defined benefit programs, mental and professional support services, and access to high-quality child and adult care.

A survey involving over 2,000 U.S. working parents revealed that 40% lacked access to the necessary child care, with 41% citing cost as a major barrier. This shortage of child care also affected work productivity, as half of the parents stated that their job performance suffered due to stress related to child care concerns.

The report discovered that many working parents are seeking assistance from their employers. Roughly half expressed a desire for more support, such as financial assistance for child care, on-site child care facilities, or the establishment of flexible spending accounts (FSAs) specifically for child care expenses. Emergency child care and regular child care services were among the top five benefits that employees believed would incentivize them to stay with their current company.

Nationally, the absence of reliable child care is resulting in a loss of approximately $122 billion in earnings, productivity, and revenue annually for parents, employers, and taxpayers, as revealed by a recent report. For employers, this translates to over $1,600 in reduced revenue per working parent.

To address this issue, the Biden administration has proposed a budget that includes measures for affordable child care, universal preschool, and up to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave. While it is uncertain whether these provisions will pass Congress in their entirety, certain aspects may gain bipartisan support and become more popular among employers.

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83% of tech talent want to see a 4-day week introduced

Over three quarters of tech talent in the UK are unhappy in their current jobs and actively seeking out new roles, according to a new report. 

 The What Do Tech Talent Want in 2023 report, by hackajob, Europe’s biggest technology talent hub,  surveyed over 1,000 UK technology workers from developers and engineers, to data scientists, analysts and designers. According to the report, only 11% of UK tech talent are content to stay in their current role and there is a concerning disparity between what most UK employers are positioning as benefits and perks to attract and retain talent, and what talent actually want.  

  Key report findings: 

  • 77% of tech talent are unhappy with their roles and have looked for a new job in the past six months  
  • 20% of tech talent are ready to leave their jobs as soon as possible.  
  • After compensation, candidates are most attracted to a role and organisation by the overall culture (15%) and mission (13%)  
  • 44% said what they loved most about their employer was company culture followed by flexible/remote working (13%) 
  • 61% say remote working is the aspect tech talent enjoy most about their jobs, ranking above tech stack (34%), benefits (25%) and location (21%) 
  • The biggest work-related frustrations and challenges include salary (34%), lack of learning and development (32%) and not feeling valued (32%) 

  There is a lot more employers can do to attract, engage and retain tech talent; 

  • 83% of tech talent want to see a 4-day week introduced  
  • Working on their own terms is highly important to tech talent – remote working (61%), flexible working (57%) and location (21%) are amongst some of highest aspects to why they enjoy their current roles  

  Mark Chaffey, CEO and co-founder of hackajob, says: “Thanks to a global pandemic, a shaky economy and multiple layoffs, the report reveals a marked shift in technology industry attitudes towards job satisfaction. New priorities, new ways of working and changing relationships with work are leading to a brand new set of frustrations in the workplace. Employees want to be heard, recognised and valued. 

  “With former perks such as flexible working now being seen as the norm, many companies are seemingly struggling to figure out what the new era of benefits means for their business. The gap between what companies are offering, and what tech workers want is causing unrest at a time when there’s no shortage of alternative job openings out there.” 

Read the full ‘What Do Tech Talent Want In 2023’ report here 

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Almost half consider flexible work as important as pay 

Flexibility working means different things to different people and embracing this is key to attracting and retaining workers amid global talent shortages. 

New data from Randstad, the world’s largest talent company, shows that 46% of non-office workers consider flexibility at work as important as pay – not far behind their white collar counterparts with 54%. 

Despite this growing demand and the need for flexibility in business, only 24% of non-office workers have seen increased flexibility since the pandemic – compared to 52% of white collar office workers, indicating that an equity gap exists between different types of work.  

Research indicates that flexibility is emerging as the new frontier for people in blue and grey collar roles – workers who have non-office based roles, such as manufacturing or teaching – as they seek to reap the benefits the pandemic awarded to office-based employees.  

Flexibility is often viewed exclusively through the prism of remote work, however, the data shows that the concept needs to be understood more broadly.  Non-office workers prioritise flexibility in terms of their working schedules, as a third, value this type of flexibility highly, with only 16% of white collar workers agreeing. Only 22% consider flexibility in the number of hours worked as most important, compared to only 9% of those in white collar roles.   

The survey revealed, offering greater flexibility can improve retention rates: 

  • 30% have quit or changed careers when their demands were not met 
  • 39% of blue and grey collar workers have taken a sick day to manage personal responsibilities 

There is also a personal value-add for talent in enjoying extra flexibility at work. When asked about how they would spend their extra time, workers across the board prioritised time with family and friends as well as; getting fit, taking on a hobby and childcare as well as having time to rest, which was more important to those in blue collar roles. 

Sander van ‘t Noordende, CEO of Randstad, said: “Over the last three years, flexibility at work has moved up the agenda for workers across the globe. Historically there has been a perception that flexible working is not possible for non-office roles, but this view is shifting. Our research found that 40% of non-office workers think that flexibility is possible in their line of work. For employers, providing flexibility in an equitable way for blue and grey collar workers will have a positive business impact. Businesses need to adopt flexibility with intentionality within their strategies, which means understanding that flexibility means different things to different people.”   For more information, see www.randstad.com   

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Glassdoor Study: Working from Home and the Future of Work

Glassdoor and Indeed’s Workplace Trends 2023 report provides insights into how employees across different seniority levels and occupations rate their experiences with working from home. The report shows that despite some challenges, employees are largely satisfied with working from home and that it is a highly valued benefit. Glassdoor reviews demonstrate that working from home has consistently received high ratings, with a 10% increase in the share of reviews discussing remote work at the start of the pandemic in 2020.

However, the report also highlights that entry-level workers have the lowest work from home rating compared to mid-senior, director level, and executive roles. This may be because remote work can make it difficult for entry-level workers to establish a solid footing in new organizations. The report suggests that there is still work to be done to ensure that entry-level employees receive the necessary support, resources, and opportunities to be as satisfied with remote work as their more-experienced peers.

The report also indicates that employers risk losing talent that prefers remote over in-person work if they do not offer flexible work arrangements. The research shows that companies that continue to offer working from home as a benefit in the post-pandemic era will largely be doing so by choice rather than necessity. Additionally, the report suggests that companies that offer remote work will be more attractive to workers, and retention risks are likely elevated for the roles most satisfied with working from home.

Overall, the report suggests that remote work is a highly valued benefit and that companies need to consider the preferences of their employees when making decisions about work arrangements. While remote work can bring challenges, it also offers a range of positive impacts, from more scheduling flexibility and productivity to fewer commuting hours and microaggressions in the workplace

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Report suggests comprehensive immigration reform as a solution to U.S. labor shortage

According to a recent report from the Committee for Economic Development, nearly 11 million jobs are unfilled in the U.S., which is contributing to ongoing economic constraints. Even if all unemployed workers took those positions, approximately 5 million workers would still be needed. The report suggests that immigration reform could help fill the gap, especially as the U.S. population continues to age and birth rates decline.

The report recommends a two-pillar approach to increasing the nation’s quantity of labor. The first pillar is expanding U.S. labor force participation by reskilling, diversifying talent pools, and supporting older workers and caretakers. The second pillar is comprehensive immigration reform that expands legal pathways and encourages immigrants’ immediate contribution to the workforce. Delaying reform could put severe pressures on the U.S. workforce, hindering overall innovation, productivity, and growth.

The report also provides several recommendations for the two-pillar approach. For instance, support for older workers who want to work could include removing the Medicare benefits cliff, piloting a repeal of the Social Security retirement earnings test, and allowing flexible work arrangements. Employers can also expand flexibility for those with dependent care responsibilities, such as employees who care for children, older adults, or other dependents.

To support immigration reform, additional pathways could be opened for work authorization and permanent residence, including raising or eliminating caps on green cards and visas for employer-sponsored workers. The report also suggests streamlining the retention of H-1B high-skill workers and F-1 international students, allowing for changes in employers, and permitting these visa holders to self-nominate for permanent residence after meeting their required visa terms.

Reform measures could also improve processes and upgrade capacity for immigration application and approval, including goals for application decision times, quarterly or monthly allocations for H-1B visas, expansion of interview waivers, and deployment of enough officers to the busiest U.S. consulates. On the enforcement side, mandatory use of E-Verify could help ensure that jobs are filled by screened applicants and deter unauthorized migration by eliminating job opportunities for unscreened applicants.

Other groups have supported similar reforms as a way to fill job openings due to pandemic-era shifts. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and state chambers of commerce have urged lawmakers to consider changes that would help retain high-skill workers and create a reliable verification system to reduce inflation, address supply chain issues, and bolster the economy.

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62% of employees believe it is important for companies to offer flexible work

Less than half of US businesses offer non-traditional benefits, including flexibility in work hours and location, despite an increasing number of American workers seeking such benefits, according to a recent survey by The Harris Poll commissioned by Express Employment Professionals. The survey found that only 47% of hiring managers offer flexible work hours, while 40% offer flexible work locations, part-time work, or unpaid parental leave. Furthermore, there is a gap between the benefits companies offer and what employees want. The survey revealed that 62% of employees believe it is important for companies to offer flexible work, while only 51% of hiring decision-makers report offering this benefit.

In addition, the survey found that 54% of hiring managers anticipate traditional benefits to remain unchanged in 2023, while only 37% expect an increase in traditional benefits. The report also notes that 64% of hiring managers have modified benefits to retain current employees or attract new ones. Moreover, the survey found that 63% of employed Americans would quit their job and find a job closer to where they live due to commuting costs.

Bill Stoller, Express Employment International CEO commented: “Finding qualified employees continues to be a challenge, and from these statistics, it’s clear job seekers value flexibility in their careers. Benefits play an important part in a healthy and dedicated company culture, and even small offerings can go a long way toward recruiting and retention in this competitive environment.”

The survey was conducted between December 1st and December 15th, 2022, among 1,002 adult US hiring decision-makers who are employed full-time or self-employed.

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25% of parents spend 75% of net salary on childcare

New research, released just ahead of Single Parents Day on March 21st, reveals that one in three working single mothers are unable to access a workplace pension under current auto-enrolment rules, despite 59% being employed.

NOW: Pensions and the Pensions Policy Institute (PPI) conducted the study, which also showed that single mothers have missed out on over £852m in pension savings since auto-enrolment was introduced in 2012.

The research highlights the fact that of the 1.59 million single mothers in the UK, only a fraction are saving into a workplace pension, with those who are eligible saving an average of £885 annually compared to the UK average of £1,573.

The report also reveals that single mothers working part-time are at 54%, compared to the UK average of 21%. This may result in not meeting the eligibility criteria for pension saving, as contributions are triggered only after earning £10,000 in a single role. Consequently, single mothers are not only missing out on a workplace pension but also vital employer contributions.

Furthermore, the research shows that single mothers may have to work an additional 28 years, in order to retire with the same amount of money as a man, compared to single fathers, who may only need to work an additional three years until age 68.

The data indicates that, over a 40-year career, single mothers can expect to have a private pension income total of £48,000, whereas the PLSA’s retirement living standards suggest an income of £12,800 per year is needed for a ‘minimum lifestyle.’

In addition, the study reveals the high cost of childcare as a significant obstacle for single parents. According to stats published by the TUC on March 10th, the average full-time nursery place is now nearly £15,000 per year. One in four parents said the cost of childcare is now over 75% of their take-home pay.

Gingerbread, a single-parent charity, pointed out that while there has been an increase in flexible working jobs, seven out of ten jobs are still unsuitable for single mothers. This has resulted in a growing trend for ‘fully flexible’ working and zero-hours contracts.

NOW: Pension support the Private Member’s Bill, backed by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), to increase pension savings for single mothers. The bill proposes two extensions to auto-enrolment, which will abolish the lower earnings limit for contributions and reduce the age for being automatically enrolled to 18.

If single mothers could pay into their pension from the very first £1 that they earn, their annual pension contributions could increase by 56% to £1,385. The result would be a potential pension pot of £75,125 over a 40-year career.

Victoria Benson, Chief Executive of Gingerbread, said: “We already know that too many single parents are locked out of quality work and it’s devastating to see they are also likely to be locked into pension poverty. More needs to be done to better support single parents throughout their working lives and beyond. It’s not right that such a large section of our society will continue to experience hardship well into retirement simply because they parent alone.”

Samantha Gould, Head of Campaigns at NOW: Pension commented: “As a working single mother myself, I know all too well that the cost of childcare is a huge obstacle for single-parent households. Working single parents must juggle work and caring responsibilities meaning that they are more likely to reduce their working hours or stop working altogether”.

“Through no fault of their own, too many single mothers are locked out of the auto enrolment system, unable to earn enough to put money aside for later so find themselves on the wrong side of a growing pension savings gap. We must ensure that everyone has an equal opportunity to save for their futures and build an adequate savings pot for later in life.”

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Employers need to re-evaluate job perks for women

Less than 3% of jobs offered by UK employers advertise benefits necessary to help women thrive. This is according to new research from the job search engine Adzuna.

The company looked at more than one million job ads in March 2023 to find out how many postings promoting perks aimed at women. The results revealed the dire need for employers to step up.

In Adzuna’s analysis, they found:

  • 29,501 of the 1,043,451 job ads cited perks aimed at retaining and supporting women.
  • only 17,638 ads promoted enhanced maternity or parental leave.
  • just 6,410 postings offered some support with childcare costs.
  • only 821 job ads mention menopause support; of those, just 30 postings offer paid HRT therapy. This is despite evidence showing that 1 in 10 women aged 45-55 leaves the workforce due to symptoms of menopause.
  • only 5 UK job ads offered menstrual leave.

Recent research by YouGov found that almost half of Brits favour of the introduction of menstrual leave legislation. A further 40% of women said they regularly get period pain which is severe enough to affect their ability to work. Some countries have realised the negative impact that this time of the month has on women in the workplace. For example, Spain recently introduced legislation allowing three days per month of state-paid menstrual leave for those with incapacitating periods.

Adzuna’s research also found that fertility benefits such as egg freezing and IVF support are rare, with only 51 job ads mentioning these perks. Various large tech companies offer these benefits, but hiring in large tech companies is currently depressed, so there are limited options for women seeking fertility benefits from employers.

In contrast, many employers are offering popular perks such as duvet days (619 job ads), unlimited holidays (953 ads), and free gym membership (3,912 ads).

Paul Lewis, Chief Customer Officer at job search engine Adzuna, comments: “Women remain woefully undersupported in the UK workplace. Instead of duvet days or free gym membership, employers need to focus on benefits that support female employees. In particular, evidence shows menopause and menstruation are top factors making it harder for women to thrive at work, even leading many to drop out of the workforce. Women shouldn’t need to suffer in silence; employers need to step up, introduce open dialogues around these topics and add more flexibility for women juggling their health with work. Furthermore, keeping women in the workplace is key to filling skill gaps, so introducing benefits that help attract, support and ultimately retain women makes sense from a business as well as a societal perspective.”

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49% of organisations in the GCC currently offer remote or hybrid working

Hays Middle East, part of Hays plc, the global workforce solutions and specialist recruitment company, has released its latest Salary Guide 2023 for the Gulf Corporation Council (GCC). The guide provides comprehensive salary data for over 400 roles across 13 industries across the region, with the latest workforce trends based on expert insights and the analysis of a survey of over 2,000 employers and professionals.

The guide has revealed that despite global disruptions, the GCC has remained stable, with continuous investment and diversification leading to a buoyant labour market in 2023, creating new jobs across multiple sectors and geographies in the region with this being exemplified by 85% of employers planning to recruit permanent employees. However, with 45% professionals looking to change organisations, greater competition for the best talent is to be expected.

Employers can leverage flexible working options to counter competition

Hays believes that offering flexible working options is a viable way for employers to counter the fierce competition. The guide shows that while only 49% of organisations in the GCC currently offer remote or hybrid working options, 20% of employers anticipate that employees will be required in the workplace more. Professionals place work-life balance and flexible working as a top priority when looking for a new job.

Addressing the skills dissonance is vital for future success

According to the report, employers and employees in the GCC have different perceptions of talent availability within their organisations. The guide indicates that while 82% of employees firmly believe they have the necessary skills to fulfill their role in 2023, only 35% of employers strongly agree they have the talent needed for the coming year. Employers and employees must work together to address this disconnect to ensure success in the future.

Growth on the horizon for Technology and Industrial Sectors, plus accelerated Emiratisation

The guide highlighted that technology remains the most active industry sector for hiring, with 77% of organisations increasing their headcount last year, thanks to consistent local and foreign direct investment in focus areas such as data, cyber security, and cloud solutions. Despite uncertainty in the global Technology sector, growth in the GCC continues at pace. Indeed, 88% of employers plan to recruit permanent employees in 2023.

In Saudi Arabia, the industrial sector is expanding at an exponential rate. With the Kingdom poised to take further advantage of its abundant natural resources and central geographical location, industrial diversification into new products and materials will lead to a focus on talent with experience, technical skills, and operational knowledge.

In the UAE, almost one in two (49%) of employers will ramp up their hiring of UAE national citizens this year as they work to meet Emiratisation quotas and diversify their workforce.

Sarah Dixon, Managing Director of Hays Middle East commented: “2023 promises to be a prosperous year for the labour market and the GCC in general, with new jobs being created across multiple sectors and geographies in the region through investment initiatives from a multitude of sources. The Hays GCC Salary Guide 2023 provides valuable insights for both employers and professionals, helping them navigate the recruiting landscape of today and stay competitive for tomorrow.”

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