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The UK Workforce Will be More Flexible in 2018

The way people work in the UK and Ireland is set to become increasingly flexible and dynamic in the next four years according to the talent management firm, Right Management. The study indicated that the ability to cope with change and uncertainty will help to boost the career progression of many employees over the next five years.

The report showed that 79% of HR decision makers, employees are expected to have multiple simultaneous careers by 2018, and more than half (60%) expect that workers will be either on temporary contracts or working flexibly as contractors or freelancers.  

Younger ‘Blood’ Will Take Over

Besides revealing a future built on flexible working, the survey also uncovered:

- Nearly three quarters of HR decision makers (70%) expect the leadership teams and board members to become younger and to be promoted from within the business (54%).

- Only a quarter of line managers (24%) see themselves working in a more senior role with their current employer by 2018.

- Just 43% have a clear idea of how they can progress with their current employer.

The findings demonstrate a clear expectation of line managers and younger workers to perform and create the next generation of leaders, yet many are struggling to understand their employers’ corporate vision and their place in it.

Resilience Is Becoming a Key Employee Attribute

Other key findings highlighted the increasing significance of resilience as an employee attribute. 91% of HR directors think it’s likely that people will be recruited on their ability to deal with change and uncertainty.

In addition to this, the majority of line managers (79%) and HR decision makers (75%) predicted that staff wellness will be formally measured and reported on by 2018. Interestingly, 72% of line managers claim their organisation could be doing more to help their employees cope with prolonged periods of stress.

Here is a useful infographic which gives a comprehensive picture of the changes to occur in the UK and Ireland workforce in five years time.

The general manager at Right Management UK and Ireland argued that planning ahead and being flexible are central for managers to boost the resilience of their organisations and their people. As such, “organisations need to strategically plan their workforce and look at the systems they have in place to support employees and the business through turbulent times. Without this, they will always be reacting to what is happening rather than being in control”.

On the whole, the results of the report show that employees cope with change to a certain extent, but in many cases employees are feeling overwhelmed, unsupported and uncertain on their future direction. This situation in turn means that businesses need to put people at the very center of their plans and provide them with the right guidance, structure and vision they need to thrive in an ever-changing work setting.


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