Companies that do not adapt to flexible working will lose out on new talent by failing to attract younger workers, according to research.
The Future World of Work report by tech finance firm Sonovate concludes that people aged 18-30 are driving a major shift in flexible working and the popularity of ‘portfolio’ careers.
In a survey of 4,500 people including 500 small and medium-sized business owners across sectors, 66 per cent of those polled said that they felt younger people had a strong desire to work flexibly.
Just over half (53 per cent) of all respondents agreed that more flexible working would be key to helping young people to get on the career ladder in the volatile post-pandemic economy.
In total, 42 per cent of respondents said that younger people do not need to be in an office full-time to learn what they need owing to new technology.
More than half (53 per cent) of those aged 18 to 34 surveyed warned that young people would not be willing to join organisations that are inflexible about the way their employees work.
The report states: “They want, and expect, to have more control over their careers. Fifty-nine per cent of 18-34-year-olds surveyed believe that within the next 10 years, more people will have ‘portfolio careers’, holding more than one job as opposed to one role in a single organisation. Younger people are driving a movement toward a ‘passion economy’.”
More than half (55 per cent) of UK small to medium-sized businesses that have used freelance labour are seeing a greater proportion of their workforces becoming freelance and contract-based. Hybrid working has helped more people join the workforce, the study adds.
It adds that the pandemic had shifted the traditional value chain of salary, location, proximity to home and number of hours worked to flexibility, the values of an organisation, benefits, wellbeing, and mental health.
The report says: “As much as the idea of a ‘job for life’ is considered a thing of the past, it looks as though some people will soon see offices as outdated.”
However, the study also notes that there are still perceived benefits to office working, especially for younger, less experienced employees, who may want more social interaction or are living with parents. This partly explains the increasing popularity of hybrid working where staff can get the benefits of working from home and collaborating in a shared space.
It concludes: “Flexible working is here to stay, and since the market is talent-driven, companies that are inflexible will lose talent.”
Image credit | djile-Shutterstock