Nearly half of British business leaders fear losing the UK’s best talent abroad following the pandemic and Brexit
16th August 2021
LONDON, 17 August 2021 – MovePlan, global specialists in workplace change management, in partnership with Hanson Search, the international headhunting consultancy, today revealed that 40% of business leaders fear that the combination of the pandemic and Brexit will see their best talent disappear abroad, making hiring more challenging, just as the country begins to return to the ‘new normal’.
- 34% of employees question whether their current career is right for them, and are considering alternative paths
- 45% rank ‘team, people and culture’ as most important, followed by flexible working (39%) over competitive salary and bonus as the most important elements of a job package
- 76% of senior executives and business owners would prioritise employee wellbeing over financial and commercial concerns in planning the future of the workplace
In addition to business leaders, 29% of respondents at mid- and junior-level also felt pessimistic about the UK’s chances to compete for the best talent and attract global businesses post Brexit.
The results, announced today as part of MovePlan and Hanson Search’s Future of the Workplace survey, which polled over 1,100 respondents (senior executives as well as employees), suggest a new battle on UK employers’ hands; that of developing and offering the most enticing working environments in order to retain and attract the best talent.
Complex decisions on the horizon
The complexity of the decisions facing leadership as they define the next era of the workplace is illustrated in the research findings. Worries over job security saw 27% of employees saying that they would remain in their current role for as long as possible, 24% would prioritise working in a large, international firm that can look after them in turbulent times, while at the same time, 27% want to work for a small-medium sized firm where they feel they “are more than just a number”, and one in five (21%) want to find a way of becoming their own boss or going freelance.
When asked separately about their experience working from home, 34% of employees question whether their current career is right for them, and are considering alternative paths. This polarisation of opinion when it comes to employee motivation highlights that the “one-size approach” does not fit all. Instead, leaders of all sized companies remain faced with complex decisions as they seek to create a workplace that works for everybody.
“The way business leaders manage change and implement sustainable working practices has never been more multi-dimensional or complex.”
— Cathy Ridley, Founder of MovePlan
Competitive salaries out; culture in
Career paths were re-evaluated during the pandemic with many employees reconsidering their motivations behind job choices. When asked to rate the most important elements of a job package, a competitive salary and bonus structure have fallen down the list of priorities. Instead, 45% ranked team, people and culture as most important, followed by flexible working (39%). ‘Purpose, vision and values’, ‘social responsibility’, ‘contributing to the greater good’ and ‘diversity and inclusion’ also repeatedly appeared unprompted from respondents in the comments section.
When asked what motivates the decisions of senior executives and business owners, 76% said they would prioritise employee wellbeing over financial and commercial concerns (46%). While employers have recognised the importance of prioritising employee wellbeing, the challenge is to determine a clear path forward that embraces the learnings from the pandemic and prioritises flexibility, yet remains fit for purpose and true to the identity of the business.
Creating a workplace of choice
The Future of the Workplace research also clearly establishes that flexible working has become a basic expectation and is no longer viewed as a nice-to-have. Indeed, 66% of employees and senior executives want to split their time between home and the office, with some wishing to define their working location on a weekly basis (41% of senior execs and 38% of employees). Just 3% of employees would work from an office full time and 14% would work from home indefinitely.
Cathy Ridley, Founder of MovePlan comments: “The way business leaders manage change and implement sustainable working practices has never been more multi-dimensional or complex. We are undoubtedly on the precipice of a new era of workplace culture, collaboration, inclusivity and productivity and as a result, it is imperative that the role of the workplace is rethought and made fit for purpose. Creating a working environment that is true to today’s employee requirements and priorities, whilst also ensuring the ingredients are in place to grow, innovate and build the best team environment, is the most important job this generation of business leaders will have.”
Alice Weightman, founder of Hanson Search, added: “Businesses are facing an unprecedented set of challenges and at the centre of their thinking is company culture, community and employee wellbeing. The creation of new working practices that are practical and inclusive, as well as offering an inspiring vision for the future is no easy task to navigate, yet it is undoubtedly one of the most important issues on the business agenda today. With the war on talent heating up and a noticeable shortage of skills across industry sectors, those that get it right, will be at an advantage. Businesses that move in step with their employees and create an environment where learning, diversity of thought and approach is celebrated rather than stifled, will be on the front foot of attracting the best talent for the future.”
The Future of the Workplace survey, conducted via Survey Monkey, received 1,191 total respondents. It was conducted between 13 May and 21 June 2021.