Canadian employees demand flexibility – but will it hurt their career progression?

There's a disconnect between employer and employee perceptions around remote career growth

Canadian employees demand flexibility – but will it hurt their career progression?

Hybrid work is no longer a “nice to have”, it’s a strategic demand. Data released today from Cisco found that 81% of Canadians say flexible working models are the main reason in deciding whether to stay at or leave a job.

Cisco’s Hybrid Work Study found that flexibility in working arrangements isn’t seen as a benefit anymore, it’s seen as a need. For 23% of employees, having the ability to work from anywhere is their top priority when looking for a new role – second only to a higher salary (34%).

“The future of work is hybrid and global,” says Shannon Leininger, president at Cisco Canada. “Organizations that prioritize flexibility and choice as core business imperatives will reap the benefits.

“Canada continues to face a tight labour market, and a flexible and inclusive hybrid work model that meets people where they are and where they want to be supports recruitment, talent retention, and overall happiness and wellness.”

Work-life balance similarly emerged as a “must have” in the report, with 79% of employees hybrid work has improved their quota. The survey also found that while employees crave hybrid work, they’re anxious over how it will impact career progression. In fact, 46% of staff are worried that their in-office colleagues will have more growth opportunities then themselves, if they remain in remote work.

However, employers disagree – with 49% saying that the opportunities for progression will be equal between remote, hybrid, and fully in-office teams.

“Leaders and managers are critical to the success of hybrid work and need the proper tools and training to make it inclusive, equitable, and successful,” adds Leininger. “It’s incumbent on leaders to role model and define hybrid work for their teams because it is not a one-size-fits all approach.

“By being intentional in how they lead, adapt, and evolve their hybrid work practices, leaders have the opportunity to build a culture that puts employees at the heart.”

With inflation and interest rates continuing to plague employees and organizations alike, Canadians are voicing their concerns over a lack of purchasing power heading into 2023. 

Data from Cisco shows that employers are trying to help financially stressed workers, however, with 36% of respondents admitting their company has implemented “recession benefits” to help mitigate rising costs. These perks include salary increases, improved mental health benefits and paid days off.

The survey was conducted between December 9 and 15, 2022. There were 1,000 employees and 509 employers surveyed from across Canada.

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