New Research from CIM

Marketers' View on the Modern Workplace

Berkshire (UK), December 2020 - A survey conducted by recruitment firm Hays alongside the Chartered Institute of Marketing has provided new insights into marketers' views towards the workplace during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The research finds that the vast majority of marketers are enjoying remote working and plan to request to continue working flexibly once it's possible to return to the office full time.

  • 55% say that they will request to continue working remotely
  • Only one in five either won't request flexible working (14%) or says it's not possible because of the job (5%)
  • The proportion who won't request flexible working is highest among the under 25s (32%) and lowest among the over 55s (9%)

Furthermore, more than four in five (82%) marketers say that working remotely makes their colleagues and them feel more "authentic". This was highest for those over the age of 55 (87%).

Despite enjoying some of the benefits of remote working, the research finds that around half of marketers are worried about employee isolation (52%) and the blurring of boundaries (45%) between home and work life caused by working from home since March.

The survey also reveals that many people who work flexibly feel it has held them back in their careers.

Two in five (41%) working flexibly prior to the pandemic felt disadvantaged when it came to career progression. This figure is significantly higher among female marketers (50%) than among men (29%).

Chris Daly, Chief Executive of the Chartered Institute of Marketing said, "Marketing professionals are obviously enjoying the benefits of working at home, which is why so many hope to continue working remotely once offices are fully open again. One important watch-out is young people, many of whom appreciate the sociability of office life and don't always have the comfortable home working set-ups enjoyed by their older colleagues. Employers will need to carefully balance the need for a positive office environment for young people with a desire among older workers to spend less time in the office."

The move to embrace flexible working across the marketing sector is also seen as an enabler, supported by the 78% of marketers who believe it positively impacts the success of an organisation. This transition means organisations that have traditionally been unable to draw from a wide talent pool due to their location, are now able to diversify their workforce and hire from across the country and even internationally.

Although there were many positives from the research, the findings also reveal that marketers are concerned over discrimination in the workplace - with around 60% feeling that their chances of getting a role has been limited for reasons other than their ability to do the role effectively. This figure is higher than the 50% of people who agree with this in the population as a whole.

Age was most commonly cited (by 62%) as the reason for being overlooked, with significant proportions also identifying their gender (33%) and ethnicity (33%) as lowering their chances of getting a job.

The research finds that the vast majority of marketers want to work for businesses that take issues of diversity and inclusion seriously. Marketing professionals have a stronger preference to work for a company that has a public commitment to ED&I than the population as a whole.

  • 67% say that they would only consider working for a company with a public commitment to equality, diversity, and inclusion, compared with 61% in the country as a whole
  • 75% say that a company's diversity and inclusion policies are important to them

Many marketers also believe that it is important that the organisations they work for take a public stance on key societal topics like inclusion and diversity

  • 61% say that the company should have a public voice on inclusion and diversity issues. A further 16% say the company should have a position, but only toward employees.
  • 39% say they would consider leaving an organisation if it did not take a public stance on inclusion and diversity issues

Clare Kemsley, Director of Hays Marketing, said, "Flexible and remote working has been incredibly powerful in maintaining productivity across the world this year, but it's not without its downsides. It's concerning to uncover that this is leading to some feeling at a disadvantage when it comes to career progression.

On the plus side, it's striking how many professionals, not just marketers, feel that their organisations should take a public position on diversity and inclusion issues. The modern employer needs to make this a core part of the workforce strategy going forward if the firm is to attract and retain top marketing talent."