In a recent study conducted by the Quarterly Flexible Working Index, job seekers’ preferences have undergone a remarkable shift over the past three months.
The analysis, which harnessed insights from over 350,000 job searches and preferences expressed by more than 8,000 jobseekers, sheds light on the growing demand for mental health support in the workplace and the surging popularity of “Work From Anywhere” (WFA) schemes.
Mental Health Support: A Top Priority
The data reveals a striking trend: a considerable 30% of workers are actively seeking companies that provide mental health support between April and June 2023. This marks a significant 20% increase since July 2022 when only a quarter of job seekers expressed such a preference.
Notably, disabled workers display an even stronger preference for companies offering mental health support. Since the beginning of the year, the number of disabled workers preferring such employers has risen by 7%, with 59% of all disabled workers opting for these roles last quarter, compared to 55% in July the previous year. This indicates that disabled workers are nearly twice as likely to prioritise mental health support compared to their non-disabled counterparts.
Worrying Unemployment Trends and Mental Health
This rise in demand for mental health support aligns with recent Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures, revealing a record high in long-term sickness-related unemployment. Undeniably, mental health issues constitute the primary reason behind this concerning trend.
Molly Johnson-Jones, CEO and co-founder of Flexa, underscores the importance of providing robust mental health support year-round. She emphasises that job seekers recognise the need for support now and in the future, urging employers like Silverrail, hedgehog lab, and Learnerbly, who prioritize employee wellbeing, to champion their efforts.
Flexible Working Options: A Summer Frenzy
As the warmer months arrived, the Quarterly Flexible Working Index* witnessed a seasonal resurgence in workers looking for diverse working locations. The “Work From Anywhere” (WFA) schemes, enabling employees to work outside their usual jurisdiction, soared in popularity during April to June 2023.
An astounding 88% of all workers expressed a preference for companies offering WFA schemes during this period – a record high since the Index’s inception in July 2022. The number of job seekers actively searching for WFA roles increased by a staggering 120%, indicating the immense appeal of this flexible approach.
Furthermore, the demand for “fully remote” roles, where employees are not obligated to visit the office, also experienced significant growth month-on-month, reaching 59% of all workers by June 2023 – a 13% increase from April.
Seasonality’s Impact on Flexible Working Preferences
The study also highlights the seasonality behind demand for flexible working locations and hours. Job seekers increasingly expressed a preference for “summer hours” during the last three months, with 24% of all workers seeking this option in June 2023 – a 9% rise from April. The allure of longer and warmer evenings appears to drive this trend.
T latest Quarterly Flexible Working Index* portrays a workforce increasingly attuned to the significance of mental health support and the allure of flexible working options. Employers who prioritise their employees’ wellbeing and offer versatile working arrangements stand to attract the brightest talents in today’s dynamic job market.
Joanne is the editor for Workplace Wellbeing Professional and has a keen interest in promoting the safety and wellbeing of the global workforce. After earning a bachelor's degree in English literature and media studies, she taught English in China and Vietnam for two years. Before joining Work Well Pro, Joanne worked as a marketing coordinator for luxury property, where her responsibilities included blog writing, photography, and video creation.