Be smart, be flexible

iStock_000005488693MediumIt would be hard to have missed the good news about the turnaround in the UK economy, growth forecasts being upgraded and the news that GDP will once again hit 2008 pre-recession levels. With this upturn comes an inevitable surge in levels of recruitment. A study from KPMG and the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) shows that employers are recruiting at the highest levels since 1998. Great news for candidates, but also an added pressure on those businesses trying to compete and attract the best talent.

So, how can organisations, particularly SMEs stand out from the crowd in a thriving job market? Often smaller organisations can’t afford to offer the sort of salary packages big City firms are able to. However, this may be less of a stumbling block than it would first appear. Many candidates are not necessarily looking for the highest salaries, what they want is an appealing overall package, allowing them to thrive in their career but also strike that important work/life balance. Flexibility of employment is a major bonus for many candidates and organisations that offer this, whether it be through part-time employment, flexible hours or job-sharing, are at a real advantage in this competitive market.

Recent research by Unify has highlighted just how important flexible working is to many workers. Their study of 900 global candidates across verticals including health, finance and education found that 1 in 3 would leave their current job if an offer of a role with more flexible working arrangements came along. This number rose to 43% when taking into account just those candidates from Generation Y (18-32 year olds). This highlights the relative importance of a flexible job role in contrast to the traditional, inflexible 9 to 5.

Organisations that embrace the trend towards flexibility and ensure they market themselves as a flexible employer are at a big advantage in the new world of working. Differentiating yourself as an employer that offers what candidates really want from their working schedule is smart recruitment at its best.

Small businesses may not be able to offer the high-flying candidates those top salaries but they can offer them something much more valuable: an enjoyable and satisfying work/life balance.

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