Working habits are changing rapidly, as technology transforms working arrangements and people’s understanding of what matters at work shifts. But how closely do attitudes and expectations match reality?
YouGov’s latest report, ‘Success in the modern workplace’, uses its YouGov RealTime data to find out what matters most to employers and employees when it comes to interviews, benefits and professional skills. It also contrasts these to the attitudes of retired people and children to assess how much things have changed – and are likely to do so in the future.
Here are a few of the key takeaways:
Rule one for interviews: don’t waste each other’s time
Both employers and prospective employees have an expectation that if a candidate comes for interview, the parties should be interested in one another. Both sets of respondents say showing a lack of interest is the second-worst thing the other one can do in this setting – something that both ought to take into account when offering or accepting an interview.
The top bugbears for each are more obvious things to avoid: employees don’t want to be asked inappropriate personal questions while employers abhor dishonesty.
Hours and office location are the key benefits
While employers often offer ‘soft’ perks such as free snacks, gym memberships and discount schemes as benefits, the most important are the fundamental ones. Office location and flexible hours rate as the key difference-makers – for bosses, employees and retired people.
Workers are more likely than their bosses to be swayed by offers of soft perks, however.
Experience leads to success – but the retired disagree
Both employees and employees say experience is the top attribute that helped them get to the position they are in at work. This may not be surprising as most job ads make prior sector experience a prerequisite, however retired people don’t even put it in their top five, suggesting it is less important in the long term.
Hard work and knowledge/expertise appear in the top five for all three group, suggesting these are undoubtedly significant, but could the disparity of views about experience indicate workers and bosses are putting too much emphasis on it and ignoring talent from different professional backgrounds?
Kids have unrealistic views of what’s needed at work
Children aged 12-14 say qualifications are the main attribute that they believe will help them get a job. While it’s only natural that they would get this impression from spending their lives in education, qualifications don’t appear in the top fives of employers, employees or retired people.
Children recognise the value of hard work and intelligence in the workplace, which their elders do agree with, however their perception that punctuality and skill are key characteristics for a successful career are also wide of the mark, according to older people who have spent time in work.
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