Turnaround your turnover

The latest survey by Accountancy Age and Robert Half Finance & Accounting revealed that over a half of people working in Britain’s finance sector are either actively or passively job-hunting. But why is this the case?

The profile of those looking for work reveals some clues. Jobseekers are as happy with their pay as their more settled counterparts, suggesting salary is not the main factor. Of those actively looking for work, however, 54% state that their organisation is understaffed, with increased workloads and stress being named as the main causes.

During recent years, the economic climate has meant that companies have had to cut back on recruitment to survive, with more than a third of respondents saying this is still the case.

With this period coming to an end, changes to recruitment policies are vital if companies hope to attract new blood and retain their existing staff. Instead, it appears to be a case of ‘once bitten, twice shy’, with firms hesitating to re-staff their offices in fear of another economic downturn.

But understaffing brings with it an increased workload and greater stress, which inevitably leads to longer working hours. The average working week for finance professionals is almost four hours longer than the national average which, according to the Office of National Statistics, is 37.5 hours.

So what can employers do to help prevent their human capital from ‘jumping ship’? There is no simple solution, but the finger points to resolving pain points and providing rewards that match the changing needs of the individual.

Hard cash and pensions aside, the rewards that staff are placing top of their wishlists are lifestyle-related benefits such as flexible working, car allowances, more holidays and working from home.

If employers are ready to listen and respond to their staff, they will create a happier and more settled workforce. If they choose to ignore them, they do so at their own peril.

Steve Carter is managing director of Robert Half Finance & Accounting

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