Hybrid working patterns have become more widespread since the pandemic began, and treasury teams are no exception. As such, employers need to take note of junior employees’ expectations.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies and workers around the world have continued to embrace hybrid and remote working patterns. In the UK, for example, a 2022 survey by the UK’s Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) found that 60% of employers had seen an increase in hybrid working since the pandemic, with over half reporting an increase in staff working from home full time.
In the world of treasury, likewise, hybrid working patterns have become increasingly widespread. The quarterly Global Treasury Salary Survey carried out by The Treasury Recruitment Company has found that a minority of respondents are currently working in the office full time, with many now spending two or three days a week in the office. The percentage that would like to work in the office full time is even smaller, ranging from 1% of UK respondents to 5% of respondents in Europe.
“This is the new hybrid world of treasury,” comments Mike Richards, CEO & Founder of The Treasury Recruitment Company. “In this new world, post-COVID, you can work from home 100% of the time.” In practice, he says, the two-to-three days a week model is a “happy medium”, although this will depend on how the model is structured. “For example, if you’ve got junior staff coming in for training, you’re going to have to come in and provide input on those days – you can’t do a lot of that training virtually.”
Royston Da Costa, Assistant Treasurer at Ferguson, says Ferguson in the UK requires associates to go into the office on average two days per week – “and I find I’m a lot more efficient, because I’m not spending two hours in traffic. I’m also more motivated if I have the flexibility of being able to manage my time.” While the lack of social interaction is often presented as a downside of remote working, he argues the social interactions that do take place while working remotely tend to be of a higher quality. “And of course, employees can facilitate social interaction by meeting up with colleagues over coffee.”
Empowering the next generation
On another note, Richards says the Salary Survey has also revealed that junior staff tend to be the least happy in their roles – “and as you become more senior, you also become much happier.” He adds while salary is an obvious factor, the results of the survey suggest there is a different reason for this trend.
“It’s actually about empowerment,” Richards says. “If you’re a junior treasury analyst, you’re being coached or mentored or told what to do most of the time. The more senior people become, the more self-directed their roles are. At the same time, junior candidates tend to have a different ethos around work.”
Where hybrid working is concerned, Richards says some treasurers are finding their junior employees are unwilling to come back into the office. “People spend more time at work than they do with their families,” he notes. “They’ve decided they want their work to be part of their life as a whole, rather than something completely separate.”
As such, while not all senior treasury executives are in favour of the hybrid model, Richards warns employers need to pay heed to candidates’ expectations. “If you insist on five days a week in the office in today’s environment, you’ll find that candidates just won’t apply,” he adds. “So, for some senior treasury professionals, a change in mindset is needed to realise people don’t have to be in the office.”
As Da Costa points out, it’s easy to miss the big picture. “It’s not just about working from home versus working in the office,” he concludes. “It’s about what employees from the new generation are looking for in terms of employment and the workplace.”