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New data reveals: Flexible work is the next frontier for non-office workers

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Almost half consider flexible work as important as pay 

Flexibility working means different things to different people and embracing this is key to attracting and retaining workers amid global talent shortages. 

New data from Randstad, the world’s largest talent company, shows that 46% of non-office workers consider flexibility at work as important as pay – not far behind their white collar counterparts with 54%. 

Despite this growing demand and the need for flexibility in business, only 24% of non-office workers have seen increased flexibility since the pandemic – compared to 52% of white collar office workers, indicating that an equity gap exists between different types of work.  

Research indicates that flexibility is emerging as the new frontier for people in blue and grey collar roles – workers who have non-office based roles, such as manufacturing or teaching – as they seek to reap the benefits the pandemic awarded to office-based employees.  

Flexibility is often viewed exclusively through the prism of remote work, however, the data shows that the concept needs to be understood more broadly.  Non-office workers prioritise flexibility in terms of their working schedules, as a third, value this type of flexibility highly, with only 16% of white collar workers agreeing. Only 22% consider flexibility in the number of hours worked as most important, compared to only 9% of those in white collar roles.   

The survey revealed, offering greater flexibility can improve retention rates: 

  • 30% have quit or changed careers when their demands were not met 
  • 39% of blue and grey collar workers have taken a sick day to manage personal responsibilities 

There is also a personal value-add for talent in enjoying extra flexibility at work. When asked about how they would spend their extra time, workers across the board prioritised time with family and friends as well as; getting fit, taking on a hobby and childcare as well as having time to rest, which was more important to those in blue collar roles. 

Sander van ‘t Noordende, CEO of Randstad, said: “Over the last three years, flexibility at work has moved up the agenda for workers across the globe. Historically there has been a perception that flexible working is not possible for non-office roles, but this view is shifting. Our research found that 40% of non-office workers think that flexibility is possible in their line of work. For employers, providing flexibility in an equitable way for blue and grey collar workers will have a positive business impact. Businesses need to adopt flexibility with intentionality within their strategies, which means understanding that flexibility means different things to different people.”   For more information, see www.randstad.com   


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