• Bodhi Resourcing

Flexible working now a top priority for candidates


Recruiting and retaining staff at the moment is a big challenge. ONS figures show almost one million (979k) workers switched jobs between July and September, while vacancies rose to over a million for the first time since records began in 2001.


For the already candidate-short data, digital and tech industries, this means we now have an unprecedently competitive recruitment landscape.


If you aren’t offering what candidates are looking for, it’s never been easier for them to find it elsewhere.


A recent whitepaper by Cendex, part of XpertHR, reveals that 70% of HR professionals surveyed identified flexible working as a top priority for jobseekers, with 67% identifying a working from home policy. Both factors featured above salary, identified by 55%.


Scott Walker, Managing Director at Cendex notes: “As businesses look to attract and retain the right candidates, having an understanding of changing priorities and expectations is crucial to staying competitive in the market. With salary ranking third on candidates’ wish list, money is important, but it’s no longer the lynchpin in securing a candidate’s interest in a role.”


Fintech provider, Sonovate, launched its Future World of Work Report in November, based on a survey of 4,500 people and insights from a diverse range of founders, CEOs, MDs, investors, policy-shapers and executives in tech, fintech, finance, recruitment and consulting. More than a third of respondents aged 18-34 said they had made a career change to work more flexibly during the pandemic. 53% warned they would not join an organisation that wasn’t flexible about how they choose to work, saying they didn’t need to be in an office full time to learn what they need, and feel well equipped to work virtually.


Sonovate’s Co-founder and Co-CEO Richard Prime said: “The pandemic has transformed the way we work and live. Companies that don’t adapt their approach to work, funding their business and paying their people will lose talent.”


New research from employee benefits provider Unum UK on attitudes to work and employee support echoes this, showing that more than half (54%) of the same age group (18-34) would quit their jobs, or plan to, if their company removed the option for remote or hybrid working.


It’s not just employees who benefit from flexible working. A study by Flexonomics (the first in-depth study to quantify the economic benefits of flexible work) found that it contributed £37bn annually to the UK economy and that refusals to accommodate policies is costing businesses almost £2bn a year.


As the war for talent becomes more competitive, companies are no longer able to rely on just money to seal the deal but must consider a role holistically to develop the right offering and win over their ideal candidate. Failing to do so not only means losing out to competitors, reduced productivity and lost revenue, but more responsibility for existing team members that can result in ‘burn out’ that prompts them to move.


Scot Walker from Cendex adds: “The pandemic has demonstrated not only the benefits of remote working, but also the importance of a healthy work/life balance. Organisations, therefore, need to be mindful of their whole benefits package and flexible working policies when attracting and retaining talent, especially as labour shortages continue across industries.”