Over half of employees would consider leaving their job post pandemic if they are not given some form of flexibility in where and when they work, according to a survey carried out by EY.
The '2021 Work Reimagined Employee Survey' is an international study conducted among more than 16,000 employees across 16 countries and multiple industries and positions.
According to the data, nine in ten employees now want flexibility in where and when they work.
Given the choice, 54% of employee respondents would choose flexibility in when they work.
By comparison, 40% want flexibility in where they work.
On average, the survey reveals that employees would want to work between two and three days remotely after the pandemic.
When pandemic restrictions ease in their countries, 22% would prefer to work full time in the office, with 33% of employee respondents saying they want a shorter working week altogether.
The employees most likely to move jobs include managers, those with technology or finance roles, and caregivers.
Those most likely to stay in their current roles include baby boomers, individuals with over 10 years of tenure, and those in government or education roles.
The research shows that attitudes to job retention differ by age, with millennials twice as likely as baby boomers to quit.
However, despite the apparent willingness to move jobs for more flexible working arrangements, 73% of employee respondents say they are satisfied with their jobs, and 93% say they plan to stay in their current roles for the following 12 months.
The prospect of increasingly widespread flexible working is leading to more demands for technology, both on-site and in the home office.
64% of respondents say they want better technology in the office, almost half say they want companies to upgrade at-home hardware, and almost the same proportion would like re-imbursement for high-speed internet/phone expenses.
However, despite the shift toward new ways of working and the rapid adoption of virtual meeting technology, 67% would like to travel for business moderately to extensively after the Covid-19 pandemic, an increase from 49% in the previous survey, which was conducted in 2020.
"The pandemic has shown us that flexibility can and does work for both employees and employers when the right balance is struck between employee and business needs," said Laura Flynn, Head of People Consulting, EY Ireland.
"What’s clear however is that flexible working is the new currency in the war for talent and those businesses who want to keep the best people now and into the future will need to make sure that flexible working is central to their talent strategy," she said.
Meanwhile, separate research published today by search firm HRM, suggests that work life balance is now the standout reason candidates will be attracted to a potential new employer
Of the 1,882 people surveyed, 97% of respondents say a work life balance is influential in their decision on whether to engage with a new employer.
When deciding on whether to engage in an interview process with a new employer, seven in ten said a better work life balance would be top of their agenda.
Six in ten said they would accept an offer if the workplace allowed flexibility and over half of respondents would like to commute less.
Only one in ten respondents want to return to their offices or sites full time.
"Understanding the key motivations for candidates is essential to organisations who wish to attract the best talent," said Michael O'Leary, CEO of HRM.
"The first challenge is for organisations to align their employee value propositions (EVP) accordingly and the second, is to ensure that these EVP elements are authentically promoted in the right talent pools and demonstrated throughout a hiring process," he added.