Three Trends in the Flexible Jobs Space

The job market is changing rapidly. Unemployment is low, worker disengagement is an ongoing issue, and flexible work options are highly popular. Put these realities together and one thing is clear: in order to attract and retain the best talent, employers need to consider flexible work options.

At FlexJobs, we interact with employers every day that lead the way in flexible and remote work options for their workforces.

Some, like Xerox, Dell, and ADP, are have years of experience in hiring and managing flexible workers. Others are newly interested in offering work flexibility as a way to retain talent, attract top-tier candidates, grow business, reduce costs, and lighten their carbon footprints.

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But they do tend to have one thing in common: companies embracing remote and flexible work options are paying close attention to certain trends in the flexible job space. We recently conducted our annual survey about flexible work. More than 5,500 professionals weighed in to tell us how and why they value flexible work. Some of the most interesting findings show just how important it is for employers to value flexible work, too.

Based on those survey results, here are three trends in the flexible jobs space that employers should pay attention to.

Work-life balance reigns. When asked about the “most important factors” they use to evaluate job offers, respondents overwhelming opted for work-life balance and related factors.

  1. Work-life balance: 72%
  2. Flexible schedule and salary (tie): 69%
  3. Telecommuting: 60%
  4. Meaningful work: 57%
  5. Work schedule: 48%

While work-life balance takes the top spot, it also shows up in several other top factors. Flexible work options that support work-life balance round out the top five most important factors used by job seekers to evaluate offers: flexible schedule, telecommuting, and work schedule in general.

Perhaps surprisingly, health insurance, company culture, career progression, retirement benefits, and vacation time didn’t crack the top five as important factors.

Flex options affect retention. Out of 5,500 people surveyed, 32% say they have left a job “because it did not have work flexibility” and another 16% said they were “currently looking for a new job” for this reason.

That’s almost half of professionals surveyed who have taken or are taking definitive action to find a new job because their current one lacks the flexibility they need or want.

Combine with a more competitive job market for employers, and a lack of work flexibility spell trouble for both retention and recruitment.

On the flipside, one great benefit of providing flexible work options is the retention that comes with it. Seventy-nine percent of respondents said they would be more loyal to their employers if they had flexible work options. And 73% think remote work is conducive to having strong work relationships.

Remote work prized. We asked survey respondents to tell us which types of work flexibility they’re most interested in, and the ability to work from home, either all of the time or some of the time, is the clear favorite.

  • Telecommuting 100% of the time: 81%
  • Flexible schedule: 70%
  • Telecommuting some of the time: 46%
  • Part-time schedule: 46%
  • Alternative schedule: 44%
  • Freelance contract: 39%

Employers should look at the type of work individual contributors and teams do to see if that work is compatible with telecommuting, either partially or completely.

The good news is that, for employers that see these trends and realize they need to take action, there are more resources available than ever before. Learn from the thousands of companies already offering flexible work options; Attend events like the TRaD* Works Forum (telecommuting, remote, and distributed) to gain insights and share best practices; and stay tuned to outlets like The Staffing Stream for the latest flexible work news.

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Carol Cochran

Carol Cochran
Carol Cochran is director of people and culture at FlexJobs.

Carol Cochran

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