Hybrid working fears "affect young most"

Many more young professionals and students in the UK worry about the effects remote working might have on their futures than older counterparts, according to a new survey.

Cropped shot of a diverse group of businesspeople sitting together and having a meeting in the office
The annual 'Most Attractive Employers' report from employer branding specialist Universum, surveyed more than 18,000 students, young professionals and more senior colleagues, and concluded that a remote-working ‘leadership gap’ could contribute to future skills shortages.

Main worry: being isolated and missing out on social connections

Although almost a quarter of older professionals said they had no concerns about hybrid working - something that has ballooned since the pandemic struck - only 12% of younger staff were similarly unconcerned.Some 57% of young workers and a marginally smaller percentage of students said their main worry was that it would result in their being isolated and missing out on social connections. Only 40% of senior professionals shared this view.Other major concerns among the younger respondents included being omitted from important meetings; difficulties with onboarding into new jobs or roles; and employers being biased towards in-person workers.Almost twice as many young workers compared to established professionals also harboured fears that hybrid working would affect their future earnings potential.In view of the findings, it was probably not surprising that 31% of the youthful respondents said they would decline remote working, compared to only 18% of their elders.Steve Ward, UK director at Universum, said, “Our report shows just how important it is that employers strike the right balance in structuring their working week and how valuable an effective hybrid model can be, not just in meeting staff needs today, but also in developing the talent of tomorrow."In understanding the concerns raised by the younger workforce around remote working and their confidence in their ability to do their jobs, decision makers and industry leaders can better tailor their return solutions to ensure happiness, productivity and success.”

Young employees "missing a key feedback loop"

The report also found that 70% of senior professionals felt they possessed the appropriate skills to do their jobs, while only 57% of younger staff did.According to the report, the findings suggested that, without the ability to bounce questions or receive casual, real-time feedback, young people were missing a key feedback loop that senior professionals had not identified as being a priority.“The experience of working from home is dramatically different depending on where you’re at in your career," said Mr Ward."While senior professionals have benefited from established connections in the workplace, and higher levels of confidence in their ability to do their jobs, junior professionals have been reminded of the lack of networking opportunities, learning and development opportunities and ultimately, feeling less confident in themselves without the leadership shown to them in a physical workplace.“Our research also highlights that whilst employees are interested in remote working, during the recovery phrase it will be key to help juniors reintegrate to the physical office with guidance and mentoring shown to them by their seniors.”

Read more news and views from David Sapsted

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