Technology workers most likely to work flexibly

New research shows technology leads in adaptable working practices 

People working in the technology sector are the most likely to have flexible working, with 81 per cent allowed some flexibility over where and when they work.

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The proportion is far higher than the average of 66 per cent, according to new research by My Family Care, which promotes family friendly working, and global recruitment firm Hydrogen.

When it comes to working at least one day a week from home, 52 per cent of those working in tech companies are able to do this compared to the 34 per cent average. And flexi-time is enjoyed by 43 per cent of those working in tech, compared to the 37 per cent average.

In terms of workplace perks, flexible working is seen as the most valuable benefit by 88 per cent of workers in tech. It rates far higher than private healthcare insurance (34 per cent), an enhanced pension scheme (31 per cent) or even bonuses (31 per cent). And half of employees in the tech sector say they would rather have flexible working over a 10 per cent pay rise. 

Having a better work life balance, being more productive and less stressed are the main benefits of flexible working cited by the research – released last month – which draws on data from a UK survey of 1587 employees and 310 employers.

“The sector is characterised by highly specialised workers with niche skill sets that are in constant demand. This makes it a candidate-led market, which means that jobseekers often have multiple job offers to juggle,” says the report.

“Therefore, it is not surprising that these organisations are more forward-thinking and leading the way when it comes to flexible working. It’s a game changer – attract top talent, reduce absenteeism, improve worker wellbeing and drive profits,” it adds.

However, a significant proportion of those working in tech – 21 per cent – admit that they are not confident about broaching the subject of flexible working with their employer. And tech firms are not promoting flexible working to the full, with just 51 per cent of people aware of flexible working options before they started their job.

The shift towards flexible working directly impacts on L&D professionals, according to Ian Temple, chief executive, Hydrogen. “For professionals working in training and learning and development organisations, flexible working is often a necessity. By the very nature of their jobs, many of these professionals travel a great deal, and there’s always going to be a level of flexibility that comes with that – whether it’s early morning starts, late night finishes, or even just tackling your inbox whilst on the move.”

He added: “And as more and more organisations embrace flexible working, it will be imperative that they readdress their learning and development strategies. The way we work has a big impact on the way in which we learn at work – we anticipate a rise in more virtual and on-demand learning experiences, to better cater for individuals who work more flexibly.”

Employees working flexibly to some degree – by sector

Technology (Hardware, Services, Software, Telecommunications): 81 per cent​

Accountancy, Business Services & Consultancy, Professional Services: 79 per cent

Banking, Financial Services, Insurance, Investment Banking: 72 per cent

Energy, Utilities & Mining, Oil & Gas: 63 per cent

Creative Arts & Culture, Entertainment & Media, Communications: 61 per cent

Other: 59 per cent

Construction, Engineering & Manufacturing, Manufacturing: 58 per cent

Public Sector, Teaching & Education: 56 per cent


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