“It is about how businesses are looking to find different ways to utilise workers across their lifetime,” said Geraldine Magarey, leader of policy and thought leadership at CA ANZ – the organisation which conducted the recent report.
“It’s a great sign for older workers who would prefer part-time retirement, students with study commitments and new parents who don’t yet want to go back to a full-time job.”
The challenge, she added, is to strike the right balance with employment regulation, to allow the widest variety of working patterns, including casual, contracting, part-time and project-based or seasonal work.
The report also highlighted the need to ensure that vulnerable workers are protected from unscrupulous employers.
“Flexibility must still provide decent work and remuneration.”
The paper launched Tuesday night in New Zealand also surveyed what attributes business leaders felt to be very important for the future: There was an overwhelming response for communication skills (90 per cent).
Other qualities deemed important are problem solving, adaptability and agility, collaboration, quick building of relationships, resilience, creativity and innovation, the making of good designs even with incomplete information, leadership and empathy.
“These are difficult to replicate with technology,” Magarey said, pointing out that business leaders still feel a human touch remain crucial at work even as technological advancements influence the workplace.
And while agility and adaptability are crucial for workers, “it’s crucial for workplaces too,” Magarey said.
“Businesses need to be flexible in relation to hours, locations and where employees can work. These initiatives help to increase the talent pool and the employees they can attract.”
The paper surveyed 400 leaders from all sectors including agriculture, manufacturing, construction, hospitality, logistics, IT, professional services, accounting, finance and healthcare.
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