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U.K. and Irish Businesses Lose Out on Female Talent

By not supporting workplace flexibility, companies risk losing out on top talent who prefer hybrid work models to support their work-life balance.

By Maggie Mancini

New data from Ricoh Europe finds that U.K. and Irish businesses risk losing out on top female talent due to an inability to support workplace flexibility, exacerbated by a lack of technology and fit-for-purpose people policy.  

The research, conducted by Opinium and analysed by CEBR on behalf of Ricoh Europe, polls 1,000 workers and 250 decision-makers across the U.K. and Ireland. Insights reveal a significant gender gap in the desire for flexibility and hybrid working arrangements. While both genders see benefits, 10% more women, over half (51%) agree that hybrid work improves their work-life balance, compared with only 39% of men. In addition, 40% of women actively seek employers offering hybrid work models, a higher percentage than men.  

The data points towards an opportunity for businesses in the U.K. and Ireland to help facilitate better hybrid work practices to both attract and retain top female talent.  

“Hybrid working isn’t just a perk; it’s a critical component of attracting and retaining top talent, especially talented women who often still carry out a disproportionate amount of care and household work,” says Glenn Griggs, CEO of Ricoh U.K.  

Hiring challenges, which are at a 17-year high, and a skills gap which has grown sixfold over the last decade indicate the U.K. cannot afford to overlook the opportunities that the emerging technologies present to organisations when it comes to attracting the retaining the best talent.  

This, coupled with a lack of investment in new technology to support hybrid working models, risks a decrease in productivity, losing employees, and hindering further growth of the business. Supporting hybrid working goes beyond new technology and alongside investing in robust infrastructure, companies need to review policies and work towards creating fully inclusive workplaces.  

“Organisations aspiring to create fully inclusive workplaces need to address the various elements which can impact an individual’s fulfilment and well-being at work,” says Rebekah Wallis, director of people and ESG at Ricoh U.K. “Interestingly, our research found that women (40%) and men (34%) are aligned in their belief that they can perform their role remotely as well as they can in an office setting. Hybrid policies should reflect this and should be about flexibility for everyone. By trusting your people to meet their responsibilities regardless of the work setting, you’re prioritising their employee experience which will, ultimately, benefit the business by driving employee satisfaction, engagement, and productivity.” 

Tags: EMEA April 2024, EMEA News

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