January 16, 2024
Henley Business School’s World of Work Institute has published a new report on what it calls The Omniployment Era The report claims to identify which what a post-Covid, post-Great Resignation workforce looks like. The study identifies six distinct worker ‘segments’* in the UK workforce and quantifies what attracts and retains them in jobs, and provides advice to businesses on how to build a strong workforce.
The report claims that 30 percent of the UK workforce is looking for a new job including 46 percent of people who moved jobs in the past year). To attract and retain this talent, Henley advises businesses to adopt ‘Demand Resourcing’ – a flexible response to a segmented workforce through tailored HR offerings.
Surveying 3,000 full time employed respondents from the UK private sector, representing diverse company sizes, sectors and positions, Henley’s research identified six segments that have their own tipping points, desires and attitudes to work:
- Work-life Balance Advocates – largest share of the workforce at 39 percent
- The Socially Conscious – 15 percent of the workforce
- Lone Rangers – 14 percent of the workforce
- Salary-driven Weekend Workers – 13 percent of the workforce
- Employee Advocates – 10 percent of the workforce
- Employee Satisfaction Enthusiasts – 10 percent of the workforce
Defining this variety and diversity of preference in the workforce as ‘The Omniployment Era’, Henley’s study demonstrates that the workforce isn’t one-dimensional. A job tailored to attract one segment of the workforce will not tick the boxes of another. Rigid HR structures that restrict what can be offered to employees (e.g. benefits, career progression, flexible working) are no longer effective and the approach to work needs to become more bespoke.
Looking ahead to the future world of work, Dr Rita Fontinha, Director of Flexible Work at Henley Business School, says: “Omniployment might be a new term but the idea is not – heterogeneity in the labour market existed far beyond the pandemic. However, our data-driven focus offers a fresh perspective, allowing us to characterise the shift, post- COVID, by quantifying it to detail what’s happening now between different and diverse groups in the workforce.
“It is crucial that business leaders wake up to the Omniployment Era and take steps to change the one size fits all approach of the past. If they don’t, it’s clear that employees in sectors with a high demand for talent feel empowered to look elsewhere.”
Henley has also shared key advice for employers serious about doing better by their employees and responding effectively to demands:
Embrace a workplace culture not built around homogeneity
Businesses must make sure that packages and perks are tailored to the individual worker, allowing employees to opt-in to benefits that best work for them. Encourage and normalise working and benefits that look different from employee to employee – for example, the likelihood that Employee Satisfaction Enthusiasts will apply to a job if it mentions hybrid or flexible modes of working is 70 percent for Salary-Driven Weekend Workers, this matters much less at 20 percent
Make working flexible
72 percent of the UK workforce wants a good work-life balance with enough time for interests and hobbies. Employers need to resist the temptation to move back to pre-pandemic ways of working. Greater investment must be made into understanding how to retain a workplace culture and spirit of development while also allowing for flexible working for those who want it.
Employees want to know they are working for a human company, and – in turn – the company needs to show transparency in its communications and practices. Employees appreciate that businesses aren’t always perfect but being honest and open about plans and how its leaders respond to adversity is key to making its staff feel like they work for a company that cares. For half of the segments, the likelihood they would apply to a job if it had good employee reviews was over 50 percent, increasing to 70 percent for Employee Satisfaction Enthusiasts
Meet the Omniployment Era Workforce
- Work-life Balance Advocates value their ability to balance work and out-of-work commitments. The ability to work flexibly from home, perhaps with a four-day workweek or unlimited leave, is important to them. This is the largest share of the workforce at 39 percent and has a male majority (55 percent) and is mostly aged between 18-34 years (38 percent).
- The Socially Conscious value a company’s record and stance on social issues and diversity in the workplace. They shun companies with a poor record on environmental and social justice issues. This segment makes up 15 percent of the workforce. It’s pretty evenly split across the age demographics, although a big percentage (50 percent) are in junior roles and just over half (52 percent) are male.
- Lone Rangers (14 percent) are focused on salary and location. They are motivated by high salaries and the opportunity to work remotely. This segment has a male majority (57 percent), with a substantial amount (17 percent) working in manufacturing.
- Salary-driven Weekend Workers (13 percent) are motivated by the salary range on offer and show a willingness to work long hours including weekends to achieve a high salary. They’re not concerned about employee benefits, ethical or social issues, or location. It’s mostly made up of men (69 percent). Transport and logistics is a common industry in this segment.
- Employee Advocates make up 10 percent of the workforce and expect companies to display high social standards and good business practices that treat their workers well. These workers highly value employee benefits. Making up 10 percent of the workforce, this segment is mostly women (52 percent) aged between 18-34 (29 percent), who often work in IT and telecoms.
- Employee Satisfaction Enthusiasts (also 10 percent) are highly sensitive to employee reviews. They’re motivated by benefits packages and companies that treat their employees right. This segment comprises mostly the 35-54 age group (38 percent). It has a slightly higher number of female workers, with over a third (35 percent) in mid-level roles.