Flexible working and a better work/life balance is more important to marketing professionals looking for new jobs than a high salary, new research tells. And employers and agencies looking to attract high-level candidates from London need to examine their overall lifestyle and benefits package if they want to appeal to the best new recruits.
Sophie Adkins, senior consultant at south coast marketing, pr and design agency Solutions 4 Recruitment who conducted the research with current candidates, said that a general skills shortage means that good pr and marketing people are in huge demand, and although salaries in London are high, many professionals are looking for employers who can offer them an improved lifestyle to tempt them away from the stress of the city.
Sophie said: “People are being encouraged to find a better work/life balance everywhere – by Doctors, life coaches, newspapers and magazines, and they are taking notice. Many professionals see long commutes to the office and working silly hours away from the family and home as a bit ‘1980s’ and totally unnecessary in this day and age.
“With new technologies such as e-mail, Internet and video conferencing in every day use, they can now work just as effectively at home, and enjoy a more relaxed lifestyle that enables them to ditch the commute, look after children or devote more time to hobbies and other commitments. And they are telling us this is more important to them than earning lots of money.
“Marketing and pr in particular is fairly project led work, which lends itself to flexible working. Good people are in demand, so it’s logical that they are opting for employers who offer the lifestyle that they are after. Local companies and agencies need to listen to what people want and revamp their packages accordingly.”
Forward thinking businesses and agencies in the South are already offering packages that take the trend for a better work/life balance into account.
Sophie continues: “Clients such as B&Q, Friends Provident and Remarkable Marketing Agency offer employees the opportunity to work flexible hours.
Our candidates love the prospect! It makes them feel valued, and that their life outside of work is important to their employer. As a result, they are more productive and motivated to go the extra mile for their bosses.”
Research by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development bears this out. Its recent study showed flexible working had a positive effect on employees, but less than a third of the companies surveyed offered it.
Sophie concludes: “There are still businesses who need to think more creatively about what package they offer. Companies outside of London can’t offer the same city living and Fortune 500 clients to work with, and so need to think about what they can provide that will win the attention of the best candidates. It’s all about lifestyle. Are employees guaranteed parking, flexible working, and/or an office that is ten minutes from the countryside or the beach? If so, that’s an attractive prospect to people who want to get away from the grime of the city. Employers need to think outside of the box and put together a package tailored towards finding a better work/life balance. If they don’t many professionals will just discount their organisations from their job search altogether.”