Productivity boosted by hybrid working says UK’s finance professionals

ACCA’s UK Talent Trends in Finance 2023 uncovers the key issues facing the sector, including concerns over inflation, burnout and technology

A significant research report, UK Talent Trends in Finance 2023, published today lifts the lid on the world of work and how it impacts employees and employers. One of the most startling findings is how finance professionals have embraced flexible working methods post-pandemic – and the beneficial impact on the workforce.

UK financial professionals are leading the globe in making hybrid working work. The research – based on a global survey of over 8,000 finance professionals – found that the UK is one of the most advanced regions in the world in terms of high levels of remote and hybrid working, with Scotland the global leader. The data also suggests that, across a range of work satisfaction metrics, hybrid workers are significantly happier than those working full-time in the office.

 

Jamie Lyon, head of Skills, Sectors and Technology at ACCA, said: “Only one-fifth of respondents in the UK identified as fully office based, with the remaining 80% either adopting a hybrid approach to work or being fully remote. However, globally, the picture is notably different, with over half of respondents being fully office based. And 77% of respondents in the UK feel they are more productive when working remotely.”

 

While the overwhelming majority of professionals in the UK say they understand how technology adds value, there are nevertheless concerns about the scale and pace of change, with younger generations most concerned that their roles might be replaced by technology. Similarly, 63% say they want more training from employers, pointing to a significant technology skills gap.

Despite these concerns the report paints a picture of a highly ambitious and mobile accountancy profession, suggesting a talent crunch exists for the sector. Indeed, over a third (36%) of UK respondents expect to move to their next role within 12 months, rising to 58% within the next two years.

The report also uncovers key concerns for those working across accountancy and finance. Unsurprisingly, the top work concern in the UK was the impact of inflation with satisfaction about remuneration lagging. The second top concern in the UK was mental health and wellbeing. Over half (54%) of respondents report that their mental health suffers because of work pressures, while almost three-quarters (72%) state they would like a better work–life balance and 41% state they would like more support from their organisation in managing mental health.

 

Lloyd Powell, head of ACCA Cymru/Wales, said: “This report demonstrates that our workforce sees accountancy as a smart and empowering career choice, offering opportunity, flexibility and security. While we see the UK embracing new ways of working, nevertheless, the findings about cost-of-living and mental health are stark.

“Undoubtedly the report provides food for thought for employers and all those with an interest in recruitment and retention. ACCA remains committed to offering everyone everywhere the opportunity for a rewarding career in accountancy, finance and management and this report reminds us all that there are concerns to be addressed and more to do to fully open up access to our profession.”

 

Read the full report here.