More than half of the executives who responded to a recent global Accenture survey are dissatisfied with their jobs, but they don’t, for the most part, have plans to leave – and 64% cite flexible work arrangements as a reason to stay in a job that’s otherwise not ideal.
Accenture’s study, “The Path Forward,” looks at the levels of career satisfaction and the work aspirations of 3,900 executives – evenly divided between men and women – from 31 countries. Their lack of satisfaction could be related to the fact that 44% of the respondents reported career slowdowns since the beginning of the economic downturn in 2008. But 59% of them say they have flexible work arrangements, and 44% say they have been using flex for at least three years.
The desirability of flex isn’t news to working moms, but Accenture’s study highlights the steady adoption by men and women in the upper reaches of corporate life (around the world) of work schedules that allow for better integration of careers and the other aspects of life. The Working Mother Research Institute’s Flex Primer, which was published last fall, details the ways that flexible scheduling is beneficial to a wide variety of employees as well as to the businesses that take advantage of it: Employee retention is a major factor cited by authors Karol Rose and Lori Sokol in the book.
The executives in Accenture’s study are no slouches, however, when it comes to proactively improving their job situations – their flex may keep them around, but they’re still pushing for career advancement and pay raises. More than half the respondents have asked for a raise, and of those, 52% received as much or more than they expected. Another 26% got smaller raises than they expected and 9% didn’t get a raise but DID get some incentives or benefits (leaving just 13% of the askers who didn’t end up with more than they started with).
Which goes to show: Employees will push to improve their situations when they’re not satisfied, but businesses that want to retain key talent have wider variety of incentives to bargain with when flex is part of the mix.