**Financial Executives Prefer Working from Home**
A recent study conducted by Deloitte and Workplace Intelligence has revealed that it is not young workers, but rather top-level executives, who are reluctant to return to the office. The research found that financial executives would be more inclined to quit their high-paying jobs rather than give up working from home. Out of the 700 financial executives surveyed, two-thirds stated that they would likely leave their jobs if they were ordered to return to the office five days a week. This presents a challenge for employers who are pushing for a full-time return to the office, as they risk losing top talent and face difficulties in recruiting new employees.
**Top Executives Feel Pressured by Wall Street Chiefs**
While Wall Street chiefs have been vocal about their desire for a full-time return to the office, enforcing such mandates may have unintended consequences. The study revealed that 50% of the respondents felt pressured to go into the office more frequently. JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs have already ordered their employees to return to the office five days a week. Goldman Sachs CEO, David Solomon, has even referred to remote working as an “aberration” that they hope to correct as quickly as possible. However, without the support of top executives, these back-to-the-office mandates may backfire.
**Financial Industry Risking the Loss of Top Talent**
The report warns that financial services firms that force workers back to the office may risk losing their pipeline of leaders and face challenges in attracting new talent. According to the survey, those who expressed their willingness to leave their current roles within the next 12 months would do so primarily for a job with more flexibility, rather than for better pay or benefits. This suggests that simply offering higher salaries or improved benefits will not solve the problem of retaining talent.
**Female Leaders Most Likely to Leave**
The report also highlights the impact of return-to-office mandates on women’s careers. Women with caregiving responsibilities, who are statistically more likely to be affected by a lack of flexibility, were 1.3 times more likely to consider leaving their employer if the option to work from home was eliminated. Additionally, senior female leaders and those in next-generation roles reported a high likelihood of leaving their current employers within the next year. This poses a significant challenge for the financial industry, as it could sabotage efforts to close the gender gap and hinder women’s advancement in leadership positions.
**Closing the Gender Gap Requires Flexibility**
The study emphasizes the importance of flexibility in retaining female workers. Seventy percent of the respondents cited flexibility as the top reason for staying with or leaving a company. Companies in the financial services industry need to be concerned about the potential loss of their leaders, particularly women in senior positions. The report suggests that while returning to the office can help organizations achieve their objectives, it should not come at the expense of employee engagement and well-being.
**Expert Recommendations for Retaining Talent**
Experts in diversity, equity, and inclusion emphasize the need for organizations to carefully consider their in-office policies and optimize in-person interactions. Neda Shemluck, a managing director at Deloitte Services LP, emphasizes that flexibility in workplace arrangements is a key driver of employee engagement. Employers should identify tasks suitable for remote work and empower employees with flexibility. By prioritizing employee well-being and engagement, employers can create an environment that retains top talent and fosters inclusivity.
In conclusion, the study highlights the importance of considering the preferences and needs of top-level executives when implementing return-to-office plans. Financial services firms risk losing their leaders and struggle with recruiting new talent if they do not take flexibility into account. The gender gap could also widen if women in senior and next-generation roles decide to leave the industry due to lack of flexibility. To address these challenges, employers should prioritize employee engagement, well-being, and inclusivity in their return-to-office strategies.