Workplace flexibility: Tapping into a wider candidate pool

Work, for Me: Understanding Candidate Preferences for Flexibility
In many organisations, flexible working arrangements are no longer an option but an essential practice that should be offered to attract and retain skilled talent. Due to an increasingly global economy and the infiltration of technology, more and more companies are implementing policies that allow employees to be increasingly flexible.

According to ManpowerGroup Solutions’ latest report, Work, for Me: Understanding Candidate Demand for Flexibility, 40% of workers say workplace flexibility is one of the top-three motivating factors when making career decisions. In addition, two-thirds of workers suggested they no longer feel the need to sit at their desk to get their work done. In other words, candidates are seeking a wider variety of flexible workplace options to help them find a better work-life balance. These can range from employees having control over their working shifts or offering the option to work from home full time, to taking career breaks and caregiving leave.

No sector demonstrates this more than IT. With demand for tech skills showing little sign of slowing any time soon, the talent has realised that they can benefit from the supply/demand imbalance. Many are opting for higher paid contractor roles, over and above permanent positions. And those that choose to remain in permanent employment are often dictating their working hours and locations; aligning work with their other life commitments.

What does this mean for employers?

From an organisation’s perspective, the concept of flexible working arrangements may be a concern for some in terms of the attendance of their employees, their productivity and quality of output. However, in today’s globalised economy, a flexible workforce can be a significant competitive advantage. In today’s 24/7 digital world, the ability to operate flexibly in terms of hours and location is crucial. Furthermore, faced with increasing talent shortages in tech, organisations must maintain access to global talent to remain competitive.

By providing a range of practices that can appeal to candidates of all ages and at various stages of their lives, organisations will be able to reach a wider talent pool, attract and retain the world’s top talent – as well as maximising productivity.

Tapping into a wider talent pool

It’s important for organisations to be aware of the candidate preferences in order to leverage them for recruiting and retaining top talent. They should also be aware of the key benefits each employment model can bring to their organisations, working towards the right balance for their business. We’ve given a brief summary of some of the key groups below:

1. Contractors

From a candidate’s perspective: The convenience and flexibility of working whenever, wherever and however they want. They will also have the opportunity of working on different projects that are of their interest and choosing.

From an employer’s perspective: Hiring contract or project workers can make organisations more agile and responsive to the market in the short-term. Additionally, using contractors can enable organisations to empower and up-skill their permanent workforce to stay ahead of the curve.

2. Permanent employees

From a candidate’s perspective: Organisations that rely on full-time employees should recognise that flexible work arrangements are important to them as well. They want to work full-time but need the flexibility that can accommodate their work-life balance. If their needs are met, they are more likely to stay with the company in the long-term.

From an employer’s perspective: Investing in permanent professionals will help strengthen an organisation’s core capabilities for the long-term. In order for organisations to remain successful, they will need talent with an array of both old and new skills that can be transferred and continuously developed.

3. Ageing workforce

From a candidate’s perspective: Offering flexible working opportunities and seasonal contracts can help the ageing workforce maintain their ties to the workplace and attract them back into the industry.

From an employer’s perspective: Organisations can retain their skills, and alleviate future talent shortages by transferring knowledge to the younger generation.

4. Millennials

From a candidate’s perspective: Millennials expect flexibility because they are generationally predisposed to the liberating qualities that technology enables. However, this doesn’t just apply to mobility but also involves enabling them working on a variety of roles to broaden their experience.

From an employer’s perspective: With the rapid rate of change taking place, the need for up-skilling is crucial to ensure that their skills are continuously updated in line with organisation’s needs. This will also boost employee retention.

Workplace flexibility includes a broad spectrum of arrangements. While not all workplaces are able to accommodate all kinds of arrangements, understanding the factors that drive the increasing demands for flexible working is key to making the first steps. Organisations will then be able to set up policies that work for their employees and their employer brand, in order to attract and retain talent for the long-term, as well as meet their business demands.

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