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Flexible working key to staff retention

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Flexible working key to staff retention

According to new research by specialist financial recruitment firm Robert Half Finance & Accounting and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), finance professionals are working longer hours yet are looking for more flexibility.

The “CIMA/Robert Half Finance & Accounting Salary Survey 2008” was carried out online by an independent market research company during August and September 2007. In total 1935 CIMA finance professionals responded to the survey.

Whilst 84% of the CIMA finance professionals surveyed stated that they are satisfied with their existing salary and benefits packages, 23% cited the option of flexible working arrangements as an extremely important element of a remuneration package.  Only 37% of these CIMA professionals are currently given the option of flexible hours by their current employer.

The survey clearly reveals that the longer working hours culture is still very much in existence for CIMA finance professionals across the UK today.  Just over half (51%) of CIMA professionals surveyed said they work between 41 and 50 hours per week, 30% work between 35 and 40 hours and just four per cent work less than 35 hours. A typical working week for a qualified CIMA professional is 44 hours per week.

More than one quarter (28%) of the survey respondents stated that they work longer hours today than they did two years.  This was attributed to taking on more responsibility and with it more pressure, according to 71% of survey respondents.  Fifty eight per cent of those polled said they are working longer hours because their roles have changed.  Nearly one-third (32%) blamed understaffing for the increase hours, while 23% cited company culture as the reason for more time spent on the job.

Phil Sheridan, UK managing director, Robert Half Finance & Accounting, said: “Working too many hours ultimately undermines a team’s productivity and can lead to higher turnover amongst finance staff.  As a result, businesses risk losing good people.  Today’s finance professionals are looking for flexible working arrangements and may look for career opportunities elsewhere to achieve greater work/life balance.”

Rick Sturge, CIMA director of Employer and Strategic Development, commented: “Work/life balance is becoming increasingly important for today’s professionals, and it is obvious that employers need to adjust their benefits packages to respond to this trend.  As CIMA members are in such great demand, it is important for employers to offer a good all round package – not just financial, but work/life – to recruit and retain top performing staff.

Other benefits that rated highly in importance for CIMA professionals include extra holidays and working from home, which were each cited by 14% of all respondents. 


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