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Employers are underestimating how much flexibility UK workers want

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Picture credits: Maridav/DepositPhotos

The tech industry needs talent and, for many years, salaries for in-demand roles climbed to lucrative heights. 

Major employers with means also kitted out their office spaces with facilities from well-stocked fridges to gyms to music rooms in order to pad out the perks available to their employees. 

Now, though, the focus has shifted from what the office can provide to what the employer allows in terms of working out-of-office. 

Compensation will continue to be important to workers as the cost of living crisis continues, but in an employees’ market, it won’t always be enough to attract scarce talent. 

LinkedIn’s Global Talent Trends report for 2023, which gathered tens of thousands of user responses, found that while compensation is the number one priority for employees, work-life balance is in second place, followed by flexibility. 

“Even with a job market in flux, people continue to reassess why, where and how they work,” said Jennifer Shappley, LinkedIn’s VP of global talent acquisition, commenting on the results.

“I think it’s especially important for organisations and leaders to note that employees are underscoring that, for them, flexibility is here to stay.”

Employers appear to be slow to pick up the message, though. 

A 2022 survey report from Adecco found that 72% of companies cited salary as an important factor to attract talent, while this was cited by just 53% of workers. Workers in the UK were noticeably more interested in the option to work from home, with 22% valuing this compared to the global average of 9%. 

Flexible working in the UK

A recent survey of 1,000 office-based workers in the UK found that working from home was top of the perks, with as many as 94% agreeing that this is a benefit that improves workplace wellbeing, though just over a quarter had access to it. 

Flexible working hours and working location ranked almost as high, at 93% each, and all were rated above monetary compensation such as a bonus (88%), paid overtime (86%) and a market value salary (85%). 

However, with increasing calls for workers to return to the office, employers are ignoring these clear signals of what workers want. And recent research from CIPD suggests that workers are willing to jump ship in large numbers if their flexibility is threatened. 

But, in the UK, employers will soon have no choice but to engage with workers on their desire for flexibility. 

The Flexible Working Bill is progressing and, by 2025, employees will be able to make up to two flexible working requests per year, starting from their very first day of employment. Employers will be obliged to respond to these requests within two months and explain any refusal. 

A boost for D&I

According to Claire McCartney, a senior policy adviser on resourcing and inclusion at CIPD, flexible working policies can help to create “fairer and inclusive workplaces”. 

Flexibility on where and when employees work can be transformative for people with disabilities to be able to manage work around their condition. 

According to CIPD’s research, among workers with a disability or a long-term health issue who had left a job in the last year, almost one-third (32%) did so because of a lack of flexible work options. 

Flexibility can also be attractive to returners: those who exited the workforce for some time and are considering a return. Often, these are people – largely women – who left the workforce to focus on caring responsibilities. 

Generally speaking, according to Adecco, women are more likely than men to value flexibility at work. And so, businesses looking to broaden their talent search in favour of a more diverse and inclusive workforce could be helped along by a more open policy on flexible work. 

If you’re looking for a role with more autonomy on how you work, check out some of these tech jobs available now on the Tech Funding News Job Board, from employers offering flexible work options.

Senior Software Developer, ClearCourse, Belfast

London-headquartered software and payments company ClearCourse is seeking a Senior Software Developer for a full-time hybrid role based in Belfast. As well as a competitive salary and “generous” benefits package, the job posting highlights that ClearCourse is “keen to attract diverse individuals who thrive in a flexible working environment”.

Lead DevOps Engineer, Northrop Grumman, Manchester

Multinational aerospace company Northrop Grumman promises flexible and hybrid working arrangements across its full-time and part-time roles. Candidates for this job as Lead DevOps Engineer in the Manchester office are invited to discuss their scheduling preferences at application stage. 

IT Support Engineer, Adwanted UK, London

Adwanted is seeking an IT Support Engineer with proficiency in desktop support for the Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems, including troubleshooting, installation, configuration, group policy management, domain administration and maintenance. Plus you’ll have knowledge of Wi-Fi and wired networking protocols, standards, and devices, such as routers, switches, firewalls, and VPNs.

Search for more roles available where you are via the Tech Funding News Job Board.

This article is part of a partnership with Amply. For partnering opportunities, contact [email protected]m or [email protected].

Picture credits: Depositphotos

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