Top Tech Stats: Flexible working, office sickies and much more

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This week we bring you the latest stats on flexible working, office sickies, the state of the Isle of Man’s technology sector and the lack of employee appraisals.

Flexible working

According to a new report from social media training firm Digital Mums, 7 in 10 (68%) UK employees would like to have flexible working hours but only 12% have requested this from their current employer.

More than half (51%) of UK employers think that asking for flexible working would be perceived negatively by employers, while 42% say it would have a negative impact on their careers.

The data shows that this fear factor is more prevalent among millennials, with two-fifths (40%) saying they’d be too nervous or worried to ask for flexible working hours despite 8 in 10 (77%) wanting this way of working.

The report also shows flexible working could be the solution to businesses attracting the best talent. Despite 68% of UK employees still not having access to flexible working, 6 in 10 (61%) UK workers said they would be more productive if they could work flexibly and over two thirds (67%) said they would be more loyal to a business.

Kathryn Tyler, co-founder of Digital Mums, explained: “The Government’s ‘right to request’ law will never make an impact while flexible working is seen as a dirty word and an employee perk. We need employers to wake up to fact that flexible working is about attracting and retaining a generation of workers who are being failed by a rigid and restrictive ‘9 to 5 coat-on-chair’ culture.  That’s why we’re calling on everyone to sign our petition to change the Government’s definition so we can clean up the F-word and change the way we work forever.”

London Deputy Mayor for Business, Rajesh Agrawal, said: “I hope this campaign will mean more businesses recognise the benefits,  and dispel some of the myths, about flexible working practices – not only do they make a huge difference to employees’ quality of life, they also enable businesses to better tap into the best pool of talent.”

Office sickies

The majority of IT professionals (93.8%) admitted to pulling a sickie in the past year, despite 41.7% noting they felt guilty about taking time off.

That’s according to data unveiled by CV-Library  after surveying 1,300 UK workers.

The survey found that 26.4% of IT professionals have made up an excuse for not going in to work, with a further 22.2% admitting that they’ve taken sick days when they were under the weather, but could still have gone in to work.

Some 43.8%  admitted to not showing up to work because they were tired, while a further 25% said they simply couldn’t be bothered  to go in.

Lee Biggins, founder and managing director of  CV-Library  comments: “ It’s apparent that many IT professionals are taking unnecessary sick days, giving a whole host of excuses for not turning up to work. It’s easy to come up with an excuse for not turning up to work, but it’s important to think about the bigger picture and wider implications of your absence, especially when it’s not 100% necessary!”

Isle of Man startup growth

The Isle of Man government has published statistics which demonstrate a significant growth and investment on the island’s technology sector.

According to the data:

  • The Isle of Man Government’s Department of Economic Development invested over £4.m last year alone in local businesses across a number of sectors including e-business, manufacturing and financial services
  • The technology sector saw an 8% growth in jobs last year, now accounting for around 30% of the Island’s economy (e-Business and e-Gaming sectors combined)
  • 62 new businesses were created on the Island in 2016
  • There has been a 19% increase in people enlisting in apprenticeships

Tapping into employees’ potential

A third of the UK’s small business workforce aren’t getting the input they need to further their career, according to research by SME HR software provider, breatheHR.

Almost one-third (30%) of those surveyed said they never have meetings about their personal development outside of their annual appraisals – this is a potential 4.7 million of the 15.7 million people employed by SMEs – that are failing to get the input needed to further their career.

Only one in five (19%) get feedback every couple of months and just 9% get monthly input.

Despite this, a whopping three-quarters (75%) of the UK small business workforce consider personal development to be valuable. However, over one in ten (12%) employees don’t think their managers come well prepared for appraisals. This is in contradiction to employers who agreed that personal development was valuable (73%) but over half (58%) felt that they always came prepared to appraisals.

Jonathan Richards, CEO at breatheHR, said: “What we’re seeing is a big gap between what employees want from feedback and what employers are delivering. It’s not enough to have a system in place: you’ve got to walk the walk and talk the talk. If you take a moment to Google ‘what employees want’ – the results will point to one similar area: they want feedback, they want a clear career progression, to develop, goals and most importantly – purpose. Employees want a dynamic process that allows for ongoing and continuous development, but what they’re getting falls well short of their expectations.”

Other key findings:

  • The majority of employees that receive feedback say its positive (54%), while 30% get a mix of both positive and negative feedback. Only 2% receive purely negative feedback
  • 19% of employees believe appraisal processes are valuable for their personal development, 15% of employees feel anxious/nervous about appraisals
  • Almost half of those aged 18-34 find personal development very valuable (49%) and one-third (34%) of young people feel motivated by their appraisals
  • Younger employers also place a greater importance on employee satisfaction in their top three business priorities, above new business acquisition
  • Eight in ten (84%) business owners consider customer retention to be the utmost priority. This is followed by new business (69%) and in third place, cash flow (63%). Staff satisfaction ranks fourth, just above relationships with suppliers (26%).