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The rising cost of running a business forces more companies to think flexibly
Two in three ( 67 %) UK businesses believe offering flexibility to their workers is crucial if they are to successfully retain and attract talent , according to a new report .
Businesses realise they cannot compete on salary alone and instead offering flexibility is key to helping companies manage the rising costs of running their businesses . Over half ( 52 %) of businesses have increased salaries to attract talented workers , but say wages rises can ’ t continue at the rate they have been going .
The second Future World of Work report from Sonovate explores what flexibility means to businesses and workers throughout the UK , and how businesses are employing flexibility to remain competitive in what ’ s been a candidate ’ s market during 2022 . It brings together quantitative research from 4,000 people and 500 smalland medium-sized business owners , as well as qualitative interviews with senior thought leaders from the future of work , employment and FinTech sectors .
With half ( 49 %) of businesses saying they have been operating in ‘ a candidate ’ s market ’ – one that favours candidates over companies – businesses are having to think more creatively about what flexible benefits they can offer to attract , retain and reward their workers . Seven in 10 ( 70 %) businesses surveyed say the most skilled people know their worth and will only work under conditions that suit them .
The use of flexibility extends also to retaining the best people already working in permanent positions . Over a third ( 35 %) of businesses report an increase in the proportion of their permanent workforce requesting to switch to contract or temporary roles .
Offering greater flexibility is practical for many businesses from financial and operational , as well as recruitment , perspectives . The report finds that businesses are increasingly turning to different forms of flexibility to attract and retain staff , particularly where it isn ’ t feasible to compete on salaries in a high inflation , recessionary market . More than four in 10 ( 43 %) businesses have raised wages for talent but say they cannot afford these inflated salaries for long .
The forms of flexible working most favoured by the UK ’ s businesses include allowing workers to choose their own hours ( 58 %), accepting requests to move from permanent to temporary contracts ( 58 %) and providing employees with utilities and Internet subsidies to work from home ( also 58 %). Other popular options among businesses include enabling workers to choose which , or how many , days they work ( 56 %) and enforcing a partial work from home policy ( 54 %).
These broadly tally with the desires and expectations of workers . Sonovate ’ s research finds that 30 % of freelance workers want to choose their own hours , as well as how many and which days they work . Three in 10 ( 27 %) want to be able to work part-time if they wish to , and 25 % are keen to work from home when they want to . x
BUSINESSES REALISE THEY CANNOT COMPETE ON SALARY ALONE AND INSTEAD OFFERING FLEXIBILITY IS KEY TO HELPING COMPANIES MANAGE THE RISING COSTS OF RUNNING THEIR BUSINESSES .
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