More than three in five (61%) new graduates think hybrid working will have a positive effect on their careers, new research has revealed.
The global study carried out by CEMS, the Global Alliance in Management Education, found that only a quarter (25%) of people just joining the workforce do not believe hybrid arrangements will make any difference to their professional development, while just 14% think it will have a negative impact.
Further qualitative research among respondents found that most viewed the benefits of hybrid working as including travel opportunities while working, feeling valued and trusted, having greater access to a wider pool of jobs, having fewer commuting costs and time saving, improving work-life balance and wellbeing, and providing more quiet time to focus.
While those interviewed voiced a positive attitude towards hybrid working, the same was not applied to fully remote arrangements. They emphasised the importance of face-to-face time with colleagues, as well as opportunities to network and share innovation and learning.
Giorgio Benassi, group head of talent at H&M Group, a CEMS corporate partner, commented: “When analysing the perspective of our early career population at H&M, we see the same trend emerge – tilting towards the impact of hybrid work being positive. The primary reasons are an increase of productivity, by being able to split time between home and office and finding long-term career sustainability through a positive blend of work and life demands.
“At the same time, we know that networking plays a critical role in determining career possibilities – due to the social nature of human beings – and that effect cannot be entirely removed. So, will recent graduates change their perspective on hybrid work as they move through their careers?
“It will very much depend on how we, as organisations, are able to set coherent hybrid workplace strategies which level the playing field. I believe in the coming years organisations will need to become more intentional with their hybrid workplace strategies, finding ways to maximise people’s time by creating more purposeful ways of being in the office, and at home.”
Nicole de Fontaines, executive director of CEMS, added: “Our graduates – many of whom will be in leading positions at some of the world’s most influential companies – are overwhelmingly positive about the move to hybrid work, as it offers them the flexibility they have been craving for many years. They tell us that they are attracted to employers which offer hybrid and are more reluctant to work for those which are unable to accommodate this flexibility.
“On the other hand, they do not want to work remotely full time. Young professionals recognise that regular face-to-face interaction with their colleagues on a weekly basis is vital to their career success – particularly when it comes to relationship building and learning new skills. They do not want to lose that social aspect of work. In this sense employers need to balance the desire for flexible hybrid work with plenty of opportunities for teams to collaborate in person – both inside and outside the office.”