The global pandemic has forced asset management firms to introduce flexible working policies. Fidelity implements permanent flexible working for its employees worldwide; Schroders also announced permanently embracing flexible working.
“The job market this year from the asset management perspective is “skyrocketing” compared to last year,” Andrew Zee, Selby Jennings vice president for financial services SEA, states in his recent interview with Ignites Asia. “This trend is being propelled by growing interest in the sector from executives in the banking industry who are looking for more flexible or hybrid work arrangements than they are being offered in global investment banks or other financial institutions.”
A year ago, few would have imagined that they were going to be working mostly from home, but now that it has proved to be feasible, workplace flexibility has shot up on their list of priorities. “Back before the pandemic, flexible work was not even a consideration at all. In today’s context, it’s definitely going to be something that asset managers are thinking about,” Zee adds.
But wait…is ’Flexible Working’ important?
According to Selby Jennings’ latest Global Job Confidence Index Report 2021; whereas EMEA and North America respondents expressed high importance being placed on ‘Flexible Working’, a large majority (44%) of APAC individuals surveyed showed low desires for this working option.
There are many reasons as to why this is. After experiencing a long period of time working from home, asset managers are experiencing some challenges. The lack of interaction with colleagues focused on different asset classes, the increased difficulty of getting trades done, and the risk of junior staffers missing out on day-to-day instruction culminate to make investment professionals rank ‘flexible working’ rather low in priority.
According to Zee, within the fund management industry; the majority of candidates are still first considering the salary compensation of the role and whether or not they would be a good fit at the company. “Whether they will be working purely at the office or will be given the flexibility to work remotely is now second or third in priority,” states Zee.
With this new form of working, the challenge for fund firms now is to ensure that their workplace can foster the collaboration and innovation employees need. “Experiencing a long pandemic period, all job seekers are expecting their employers to place health and wellness as a top priority,” said Zee. “These all link back to companies’ employer branding. Flexible work, workplace change, corporate social responsibility, diversity and more, they all count,” Zee emphasized. “Eventually, we always advise our candidates to consider the full package, including all the other benefits that companies offer.”
In the end, firms should be forthcoming when it comes to their flexible working arrangements – especially as this is a common practice during the pandemic. Companies should also be prepared to answer candidates’ questions regarding this topic. “If you’re not ready for that kind of question, then, obviously it just shows that you are not really keen for that kind of environment or you have not moved towards there yet,” Zee says.
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