Two thirds of U.S. and UK workers who experienced more work flexibility during the pandemic want employers to prioritize work-life balance moving forward and three quarters acknowledge they are now being heard – but still – half are looking for a new job. These findings and more from the latest “Beamery Talent Index” spotlight the stark gap between employee optimism about post-pandemic workplace policies and retention issues plaguing employers as the Great Resignation of the global workforce continues.
“In the fierce battle for talent, businesses across the globe continue to grapple with a tremendous amount of rapid change, from work environments to employee perceptions and preferences, all of which are reflected in our new Talent Index findings,” said Abakar Saidov, Co-Founder and CEO at Beamery. “As workers call for employers to meet – and anticipate – their evolving needs, it demands that businesses take a truly talent-first approach to attract and retain employees, and optimize the workplace of today and tomorrow.”
Workers Confident About Finding New Jobs
Of the 5,000 employed adults surveyed in the U.S. and UK, almost three quarters (72%) are confident in their ability to find a new job, half (53%) are considering leaving their current role within the next 12 months, and 23% are actively looking for a new job. The majority (81%) say the pandemic gave them time to make that decision with some soul searching leading a quarter (26%) to change their career path and goals.
Happiness in the Moment Doesn’t Mean Loyalty
Three quarters (74%) of respondents acknowledge they are happy with their companies’ return-to-work policies, despite half of the total eyeing new job opportunities. 51% say their employers have been supportive and have prioritized their wellbeing during the pandemic, but seeds of doubt have crept in as almost half (49%) feel the lack of face time with their employers over the past 12 months has hindered their chances of promotion. There’s a split decision when it comes to whether work-from-home helped or hindered creativity. Looking ahead, two thirds (68%) say they’ve been offered a more flexible work schedule, a move that may satisfy people’s reported desire both for the in-person interaction they perceive to fuel career growth combined with the flexibility to work from home.
More Work-Life Balance, Please
Workers have had a taste of better work-life balance and they aren’t turning back. In fact, more than a third (37%) actually think their work-life balance was better during the worst of the pandemic and 42% want flexible working opportunities returning to the office. In their current roles, 45% of office workers say they will be returning to the office full-time, whilst just 29% will have flexibility as to when they go in. For organizations looking to reassure and retain staff, it’s optimistic to see that almost three quarters (71%) think their employers clearly understand what matters to them in a post-COVID workplace.
Perks are Great, But People Want Career Growth & Wellness Benefits
Along with flexibility, wellness benefits matter. So does support for career growth, according to the majority (83%) of respondents who say their company should help with career progression. But 44% say their employer doesn’t have a talent acceleration program to address high achievers. Nearly a third (31%) say they want more mental health support. 24% feel that HR departments are making changes to prioritize mental health and 25% say their company is providing more online training, signaling small signs of progress with much room for improvement. The most desirable perks for employees are free or subsidized travel (23%), discounts on products outside the workplace (23%) and dental care plans (20%).
Opinions Vary by Geography, Demographic
The Beamery Talent Index data shows U.S. employees believe their employers have prioritized their wellbeing (56%) more than employees in the UK (45%), and U.S. workers are happier with their organizations return-to-office policies, while UK employers are more flexible when it comes to working from home. Mental health support is a bigger priority for employees in the U.S. vs UK (33% compared to 29%), a bigger priority for women vs men, and the top priority for younger employees ages 18-24. Meanwhile, men are more likely than women to think that collaboration and creativity has been hampered in the last 12 months.