It is hard to go day without seeing an article, a poll, or an argument about working from home. What was once a necessity during the peaks of the Covid-19 pandemic has become a hotly debated topic that is still going strong. Strong opinions and policies have formed on both sides of the debate, and at Selby Jennings we believe it is to beneficial to both professionals considering their next career move, and businesses looking to hire, to understand the range of options as well as the potential pros and cons of hybrid working and working from home.
The Financial Services industry has traditionally been seen as more rigid and less flexible than other industries, but has come to accept, albeit for some firms more begrudgingly, that offering flexible working to employees is very important. Many businesses now believe that flexible working offers some of the following benefits:
Giving employees the option to skip commutes
Spend more time with family and friends
Maintain a better work-life balance
Happier and more productive employees
Helps businesses attract top talent
On the other hand, some are still holding firm on the merits of being fully in the office or predominantly an in-office work schedule. These leaders and companies often cite the following as reasons why they haven’t fully embraced working from home:
Slower decision making
A decrease in company culture
Lack of collaboration and growth opportunities for employees
Some of the big names that have come out in support of continued flexibility include UBS, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, and JP Morgan. The work plans all vary to some degree, but most require a minimum 2-3 days in-office with fully remote privileges reserved for only a small minority of employees.
At Selby Jennings, with our buy-side clients or clients with smaller and/or flatter structures, we have noticed similar patterns in terms of flexible work plans, albeit announced and implemented in a much more informal manner. For example, many smaller and flatter firms typically have a majority of their workforce coming into the office 2-3 days a week voluntarily, but maintain the ability to offer top performers or top incoming talent even more flexibility or even a fully remote privilege on a case-by-case basis.
This new normal has particularly benefited businesses that are based internationally but are looking to make inroads into the North Asian or Southeast Asian market. Whereas in the past they would have needed to procure a physical office, many are now able to build a team of remote or flexible employees quickly and more easily than ever before.
Though the long-term implications and consequences (if any) of flexible working remain to be seen, as a Financial Services talent partner we can confidently say that those companies that wish to attract and retain top talent should be open to the idea of flexible or hybrid work. Now that the cat is out of the proverbial bag, many financial professionals have a level of expectation for hybrid or remote flexibility that is impossible to ignore if a company wishes to remain on top of its talent needs.
Additionally, those firms that have leaned into flexible work and sought to make it part of their DNA now have the ability to access previously inaccessible talent that they may not have been able to hire due to geographical constraints.
Remote and hybrid-friendly companies are also able to leverage their flexibility to better compete for talent with competitors who may be offering better compensation packages. In fact, behind compensation range, the second most asked question by professionals to us is the nature of our clients’ in-office requirements.
Overall, it is safe to assume the debate over in-office vs. flexible vs. remote work will continue for months and years to come. Regardless of where you stand, whether hiring talent or as a professional considering their next career opportunity, it is vital to be aware that companies that remain agile and open to the changing priorities of the talent pool will fare best in the competition for talent.
As innovation and new technologies move the financial services industry forward, there is an increasing technical demand for financial professionals that make it harder for firms to find the right talent.
With nearly 20 years of extensive experience and a well-garnered client network, Selby Jennings has unrivaled expertise to secure the brightest minds in Financial Services. Connecting top professionals with industry-leading opportunities, while providing complementary market research and insights, we harness our network and pair our expertise with advanced technology to secure top talent with speed, accuracy, and a reach that spans three continents.