Irish employees seek flexibility in working roles

It has been revealed that almost half of Irish adults want to move away from the traditional 9am-5pm working pattern, instead favouring earlier starts. In total, only 23 percent of respondents would consider 9am-5pm to be their most preferable working hours. With unemployment at its lowest level in ten years, businesses will need to think about how they can adapt to people’s changing expectations of their work life.

This study, conducted by YouGov in July and August, coincided with a prediction by the Central Bank that the number of Irish people in employment will rise to a record 2.3 million over the next two years.

Shifting Work Patterns

Jobs that offer earlier starts and a shorter working week are most appealing to Irish people in employment, with 48 percent saying that they would prefer to start work before 9am and finish before 5pm.

Starting at 8am and finishing by 4pm was the most popular option for a working day, chosen by 31 percent of respondents, while only 23 percent would consider 9am to 5pm to be their preferred working hours. If given the option, 32% of people would accept a longer work day for a shorter work week.

Top Priorities for Workers

The research reveals the top priorities for what Irish adults would consider a ‘good’ job. A friendly and sociable work environment, flexibility, a high salary, location and opportunities for progression are the criteria that ranked highest among the respondents.

A sociable and friendly working environment was selected by over half of the respondents, while 52 percent of respondents cited the flexibility to work the hours and patterns that suit best as a priority. Opportunities for progression within the organisation (51% ), supportive managers and mentors (49% ) and a convenient location (49% ) also ranked highly among workers.

Attitudes Towards Work Flexibility

Flexibility is becoming a feature of the Irish workers’ life with 45 percent of respondents saying that they currently work the hours that suit them. Of those who work flexibly, 82 percent feel that flexible working makes them more positive towards their job, while 79 percent say it will result in them staying with their current employer for longer.

Job for life?

People today are willing to move jobs to find the right role. Employees now expect to have nine jobs or more over their working lifetime, with younger entrants to the workforce already outpacing their older colleagues.

Young people aged 16-24 have already had five jobs so far on average, compared to over 55s who have also had an average of five jobs in their working lives, while only five percent of Irish people expect to have one job for life.

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