HC reported earlier on the futility and even damaging impact of Australia’s hunt for the ‘ideal worker’, and the ‘hidden workforce’ that remains an under-utilised resource.
“Australia is in the midst of a major skills shortage. The results of our survey have shown that there is clear opportunity for businesses to reassess their workforce management strategy in order to access a pool of talent that is ready, willing, and able to work,” Peter Harte, vice president Asia-Pacific at Kronos, said.
The research found that many organisations perceive mothers and older generations as wishing to leave the workforce, when in reality they seek to maintain a working pattern; it just may need to be more flexible.
The survey, which covered 500 business decision-makers and 2000 employees across a range of industries, found that 96.7% of the women surveyed wished to return to work after a career break such as parenthood, but only if offered flexible hours. Older generations echoed this response (96.6%).
The largest barrier for these workers appears to be business decision-makers, with only 54% willing to offer flexible conditions.
Of the reluctant decision-makers, 50% stated flexibility would be too disruptive on the working environment, and 37% claimed managing flexibility related policies was too complex.
Decision-makers proved they were out of step with employees, with 81% believing parents did not return to work due to the costs of childcare, whereas 72% of employees stated it was due to working hours.
“The reality is working flexibly equals greater productivity,” Harte stated. “Companies that focus on staff well-being are making as big a contribution to their bottom line as those who are looking at ways to increase sales or cut costs. We should not, and cannot afford to, disregard the lifestyle demands of our existing workforce.”