UK businesses risk losing out on top female talent due to ability to support hybrid and flexible working

Ahead of International Women’s Day, new data from Ricoh Europe claims that UK and Irish businesses risk losing out on top female talent due to an inability to support workplace flexibility, exacerbated by a lack of technology and fit-for-purpose people policy. The research, conducted by Opinium and analysed by CEBR on behalf of Ricoh Europe, polled 1,000 workers and 250 decision-makers across the UK and Ireland. Insights reveal a significant gender gap in the desire for flexibility and hybrid working arrangements. While both genders see benefits, 10 percent more women, over half (51 percent), agree that hybrid working improves their work-life balance, compared with only 39 percent of men. In addition, 40 percent of women actively seek employers offering hybrid models, a higher percentage than men.

The data points towards an opportunity for businesses in the UK and Ireland to help facilitate better hybrid working practices to both attract and retain top female talent. Hiring challenges, which are at a 17-year high, and a skills gap which has grown sixfold over the last decade (according to data from ManpowerGroup) indicate the UK cannot afford to overlook the opportunities that the emerging technologies present to organisations when it comes to attracting and retaining the best talent.   This, coupled with a lack of investment in new technology to support hybrid working models, risks a decrease in productivity, losing employees, and hindering further growth of the business.

Supporting hybrid working goes beyond new technology and alongside investing in robust infrastructure, companies need to review policies and work towards creating fully inclusive workplaces.

Rebekah Wallis, Director of People & ESG at Ricoh UK, adds: “Organisations aspiring to create fully inclusive workplaces need to address the various elements which can impact an individual’s fulfilment and wellbeing at work. Interestingly, our research found that women (40 percent) and men (34 percent) are aligned in their belief that they can perform their role remotely as well as they can in an office setting. Hybrid policies should reflect this and should be about flexibility for everyone. By trusting your people to meet their responsibilities regardless of the work setting, you’re prioritising their employee experience which will, ultimately, benefit the business by driving employee satisfaction, engagement, and productivity.”