Financial services firms slow in offering flexible working to all employees

New research from TeleWare claims that 94 percent of employees in financial services firms believe it is important for them to be able to choose the hours they work and where from. Yet, only just over a third (36 percent) of employees in the sector work for firms that offer flexible working. Of those firms that do offer it, more than a fifth (22 percent) of employees said it isn’t available to all employees – only those of a certain level of seniority.

The lack of productivity growth has been the biggest source of weakness in the UK economy in the decade since the financial crisis. According to the Bank of England, the finance sector is the biggest contributor to the country’s productivity slowdown. Since 2009, productivity has shrunk by 2.1 percent per year. 61 percent of banks reported a moderate to severe skills shortage in 2017, claiming it is seriously impacting productivity, innovation and profit. With fears over Brexit hitting business productivity, almost half (49 percent) of financial services firms are concerned about finding the necessary talents and skills when recruiting, yet aren’t taking all of the steps needed to attract talent in the modern era, according to Teleware.

The finance sector has been held back from adopting flexible working practices due to, in part, its strict compliance requirements. However, firms will continue to miss out on significant benefits by not allowing employees to work in their preferred style. Almost three fifths (59 percent) of workers would turn down a job opportunity that didn’t allow flexible working.

In addition to helping to attract new talent, almost half of employees say flexible working enables them to be more productive (48 percent). When considering employee wellbeing, almost three fifths (59 percent) of employees believe working flexibly improves their work/life balance and almost half (47 percent) say it makes them happier.

Key findings

  • Over three-quarters of a million financial services professionals would turn down a role that didn’t offer flexible working
  • 94 percent of financial services employees say it’s important for them to choose when and where they work
  • Almost three fifths (59 percent) would turn down a job opportunity that didn’t allow flexible working
  • Today, one in six (15 percent) employees work in businesses that don’t offer flexible working