A 'job for life’ is no longer relevant for today’s skilled workers

Paul Boughton

Employers need to offer more than long-term job security if they are to attract today’s pleasure-seeking skilled workers.

Bosses are being warned that the concept of ‘a job for life’ is no longer relevant to the modern workforce and businesses wanting to attract the best talent should invest in creating a fun and socially-active workplace.

A panel of business experts discussed the changing attitudes of professionals in the UK, suggesting skilled workers value ‘everyday perks’ such as a good social programme and fitness benefits more than long-term job stability.

Sam Gregory, managing director of B2B at Tangerine PR, suggested the power is very much in the employees’ hands: “Employees now have the attitude of, ‘I’m not stuck here forever, I do have choices, and if you don’t treat me properly as an employer and give me what I need, I’ll go elsewhere.
“Businesses simply cannot take their workforce for granted – they have to be more transparent and share more with them, it’s a very different environment that businesses are having to operate in now.”

Joining the round table debate to discuss what makes a great workplace, Gary Chaplin, managing director of Communicate Recruitment Solutions, said: “Wind back 40 years and there was the sentiment that employees’ surroundings didn’t matter. But now that the workforce has become more transient and a ‘job for life’ doesn’t exist anymore, the workplace environment has become a far more important aspect.”

Jonathan Bowers, managing director of hosting company UKFast – which ranked 31st in Europe’s Great Workplaces list, and 7th in the UK, said everyday perks, if they’re well thought out, should lead to long-term relationships between employer and employee: “As the MD of a fast-growing company, the idea that a job for life doesn’t exist anymore worries me. I believe that we can create jobs for life and if you are not trying to create jobs for life, how can you justify developing and investing in people?

“The ultimate goal for me is to encourage development in all of my team on a personal and professional level every day so that that they feel challenged and happy and they never have to leave – everybody wins that way.”

Sam Carey, general manager at consultancy Impact UK – placed second in the UK medium-sized Great Workplaces list, and 13th in the European SMEs – advised the panel that integrating employees’ work lives and home lives is the key to providing a great workplace and managing staff-retention.

“At Impact International we don’t talk about a work/life balance; we talk about a work/life weave. Mixing those two things together and not just being ‘nine to five’, the workday extends beyond and we have so many things that happen around the edge of the business,” she said.

“Allowing people the freedom to create the atmosphere and vibrancy of the place and to develop really strong relationships is really important.”
Carey told the panel that 53% of Impact’s workforce have been with the company for more than ten years.
“At Impact we believe our culture contributes hugely to our success. Being a great place to work enables us to attract and retain the best people who are passionate about what we do. This commitment, loyalty and motivation is key to developing strong and long lasting relationships with our clients as well as having a positive impact on productivity, quality and innovation”.

Gregory added: “People are starting to take pensions and more traditional, conventional perks for granted and they are not having an impact or holding any value. People are looking at different areas to find this value. Is it the environment? Is it the social aspect? Is it that people like working for a trendy company because it fits their lifestyle; or a conventional environment because it makes them feel safe? Employees are now demanding the whole package.”

For more information, visit www.ukfast.co.uk

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