Investment industry professionals want hybrid working ways to continue: CFA Institute poll

Stock hybrid workplaces
Hybrid working arrangements need to stay on – at least that’s what investment professionals the world over want to see happen. Will their employers allow it? Image Credit: Shutterstock

Dubai: Professionals in the financial services industry want to have it both ways – in fact, 81 per cent in a new poll want to work remotely at least some of the time.

But their managers are not so sure whether a hybrid work arrangement is the best deal. “While a majority of investment professionals (60 per cent) are confident in the ability of leaders to manage teams in a hybrid work environment, there is still concern that it will be more challenging for managers to be effective than in the all-remote work experience,” according to CFA Institute, an association of investment professionals.

More organisations in the financial industry are calling back their personnel, thus gradually easing up on their work-from-home arrangements after the COVID-19 hit. The CFA polled 4,600 professionals and investment business leaders representing more than 200,000 employees for the survey.

“We find ourselves at the intersection of return to the workplace and the future of work, where the multi-layered challenges we’ve faced over the course of the pandemic have now become opportunities to transform the way that we work,” said Margaret Franklin, President and CEO, CFA Institute. “Within the investment industry, the time is ripe to challenge the norms that have long driven our daily work lives. The way that we work must adapt.”

It is to be seen how willing employers in the sector would be to allow a greater hybrid working culture than what was there last year. The survey narrowed down on three key themes:

Context of careers

Investment professionals are by and large confident about job security over the next 18-24 months, with 75 per cent reporting they believe their job will be secure. Employers are supportive of their workforces’ desire to work remotely, with strong support for remote-work policies up from 15 per cent to 77 per cent post-pandemic.

Overall, these professionals believe that remote work has increased their efficiency (53 per cent). This adaptability applies across roles including those who were thought to be incompatible with remote work, such as chief financial officers and traders.

Content of work

Modes of client communication is in for more changes. For example, business travel is expected to be permanently reduced by 25-50 per cent. “However, investment professionals do recognize that the increased use of technology poses real risks, with 59 per cent stating regulators will increase scrutiny of financial technology tools as hybrid models become more widespread,” the report finds.

Culture of organizations

As high as 59 per cent cite that culture has improved because their staff have learned more about their colleagues. “Yet, 100 per cent of investment organization leaders reported that mental health issues were a top concern as it relates to their employees, quickly followed by the impact of childcare and eldercare support (cited by 80 per cent) on their staff,” the report adds.

Investment professionals also cite subtle changes in what motivates them most at work, with factors such as workplace flexibility and good team members becoming more important – “this could be a direct result of the economic impact and social isolation of the pandemic,” the report states.