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Overcoming Talent Shortages: A Flexible Way of Thinking

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In our recently released Economic & Labour report, the ongoing struggle for talent again emerged as a key issue for employers. While it's evident that this is a major barrier faced by New Zealand businesses, offering significant salary increases in a bid to secure top talent isn't always a viable option. However, is that what today's workers are looking for?

A recurring conversation I find myself having with both employers and candidates is the role of flexibility in the workplace. One thing is clear: amongst the struggle for top talent, flexibility is a tool that can be utilised to attract the people your business needs.

What are Today's Candidates Looking For?

Whilst intrinsic motivators in the workplace have been around for a long time, it is only recently that there has been a move from salary being the deciding factor in someone’s career choices.

The shift brings with it a new question: What do people actually want out of their roles? More often than not, we're seeing employees moving for the same, or even a little less money, as long as the job fits in better with their lifestyle. For the most part, no longer are candidates coming in and looking for a traditional 9-5, Monday-Friday position. Instead, flexibility is becoming an increasingly important part of the conversation. It could be flexible working hours, working from home/remotely or part-time hours, but what’s clear is that these benefits are just as important (if not more so) than money.

That's not to say that salary isn't a priority at all, for a lot of candidates it still is a high priority, but there are expectations about flexibility on top of that. Often, we find that it’s the deciding factor between a candidate choosing one role over another, which makes it an important addition to an employer's arsenal, especially when trying to attract top talent. And with a lot of the Finance professionals that I speak to about this topic suggesting that they are more proactive working from home, often due to less distractions, it might just mean more work gets completed!

Challenges in the Accounting & Finance Industry

When it comes to flexibility, the Accounting & Finance industry faces a unique challenge that many others do not. While plenty of businesses are willing to be flexible within the middle two weeks of each month, month end is an entirely different story. Often, people are needed in the office during this time, which impacts the ability to offer flexible working one hundred percent of the time. This doesn't mean that flexible work arrangements aren't a viable option for Accounting teams, it's just a matter of being flexible when the workload allows.

Also, with some companies, we continue to see a bit of hesitancy around flexibility. Often, this comes down to traditional managers who rely on the idea that people can only be managed when they are physically present in the office. The difficulty with this is that there needs to be an element of trust and responsibility for it to work. Employers need to trust that the people they are hiring will work from home and put in the hours. The modern generation of managers tend to have the level and trust and employee flexibility with their teams, as they themselves have been exposed to flexible working throughout their careers.

Summary

There is no doubt that flexibility in the workforce needs to be a part of talent attraction strategies moving forward, especially with technological advancements that enable a remote workforce – it’s simply a matter of both sides being flexible. For more insights into the Economic & Labour Market, download the 2018 Beyond Recruitment Economic & Labour Report today. Or if you are looking at securing the very best Accounting & Finance talent for your team, get in touch here.