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Kiwis keen on flexible working – but only if it doesn’t hinder their career

15 Jun 2017

An overwhelming 93% of New Zealanders would prefer to work flexibly if it didn’t disadvantage their career, Hays has found.

In a website poll by the recruitment agency, just five percent of 660 skilled professionals surveyed said flexible working isn’t on their list of priorities.

The final two percent said they would not work flexibly because the financial implications would be too great.

“New Zealanders do worry that asking for flexible working arrangement could hurt their long-term career prospects,” says Hays New Zealand managing director Jason Walker.

“From slower promotional pathways to less access to learning and development, a low profile within the organisation and even a loss of status, there is a feeling that the career of employees who work flexibly can suffer,” he says.

A separate survey of 173 New Zealanders shows that flexible working is seen as more of a career-limiting move for women (49%) than for men (37%).

“Flexible working shouldn’t come with any career limitations,” says Walker.

“Often these are the result of an employer or line manager making assumptions about the career motivations of the employee concerned.

“But each person is unique, with her or his own motivations and career goals.

“We should take the time to understand what those are so that any unconscious bias doesn’t have career consequences for anyone working flexibly,” Walker adds.

“Of course, there are many jobs that require people to be based in the office or on a work site, but for those that aren’t restricted to a particular location, flexible working arrangements without career consequences can have a huge impact on staff retention.”

Organisations can benefit in other ways too.

The RSA, CIPD, The Centre for Workplace Leadership and Diversity Council Australia are just some of the numerous organisations that have released research showing flexible working arrangements positively impact innovation, productivity, engagement and motivation.

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