Flexibility key to stopping workers from leaving post-COVID-19

Employers must have a flexible attitude to working times and locations if they are to retain staff post-COVID-19 pandemic.

A comprehensive EY 2021 Work Reimagined Employee Survey has revealed 54% of employees would consider leaving, while 90% want a flexibility to replace the set times, hours and location of pre-COVID business practices.

The survey canvassed the views of more than 16,000 employees across 16 countries and multiple industries and job roles.

It explores employee attitudes and experiences to work throughout the pandemic and into the “next normal”.

More than half of employees (54%) surveyed from around the world would consider leaving their job post-COVID-19 pandemic if they are not afforded some form of flexibility in where and when they work.

The survey also found that nine in ten employees want flexibility in where and when they work.

Given the choice, more than half of the employees who took part in the survey (54%) would choose flexibility in when they work and the hours they work.

By comparison, 40% want flexibility in where they work with the option to spend less time in the office since being forced to work from home.

On average, employees would want to work between two and three days remotely after the pandemic.

When pandemic restrictions ease in their countries, 22% would prefer to work full time in the office, with 33% of employee respondents saying they want a shorter working week altogether.

More than half (67%) believe their productivity can be accurately measured irrespective of location.

Liz Fealy, EY Global People Advisory Services Deputy Leader and EY Global Workforce Advisory and Solutions Leader, said: “Employees’ willingness to change jobs in the current economic environment is a game-changer.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that flexibility can work for both employees and employers, and flexible working is the new currency for attracting and retaining top talent.

“Employers who want to keep the best people now and in the next normal will need to put flexible working front and center of their talent strategy.”

The job roles most likely to move jobs include managers/leaders, those with technology or finance roles, and caregivers.

Those most likely to stay in their current roles include baby boomers, individuals with 10+ years of tenure, and those in government or education roles.

Attitudes to job retention differ by age, with millennials twice as likely as baby boomers to quit.

Despite the apparent willingness to move jobs for more flexible working arrangements.

Most employee respondents (76%) say they are satisfied with their jobs, and almost all (93%) say they plan to stay in their current roles for the following 12 months.