LONDON—As companies struggle to establish new ways of working in the wake of pandemic lockdowns and the current spike in COVID-19 cases, a new survey from PwC suggests that many employees would like to continue to work remotely while company leaders worry about the impact of remote working on the company culture and innovation and high rates of turnover.
The “PwC US Pulse Survey: Next in Work” conducted in August found that competition for tech, media and telecom talent is as fierce as ever, with more than 90% of tech, media and telecom (TMT) leaders reporting higher-than-usual turnover.
The survey also found widespread concern about the future of work. Most TMT leaders (76%) reported that they’re concerned about sustaining corporate culture in a hybrid workplace environment at their companies, and more than 65% are concerned about loss of innovation and mentoring opportunities.
In response, senior TMT executives are trying to compete for talent by shoring up career development opportunities (47%) and offering flexible schedules (49%), the survey found.
Among employees in all industries, the survey found that many wanted to continue with at least some remote work, with 19% favoring working completely remotely, 8% favoring working remotely four days a week, 17% favoring three days of remote work and 12% two remote days. Another 22% favored working almost entirely from the office and 21% said their work did not allow them to work remotely.
The survey also broke out results among CTOs and CIOs in all industries, not just TMT, and found that top technologists were more concerned about the future of work than other executives.
Technology chiefs, for example, are more worried than their peers in terms of figuring out which groups of workers should come into the office in person, how often they should do this and when, the report noted. While 37% of the technology executives cite this as a major challenge, only 22% of all the other executives did so, the report said.
Tech leaders are also more concerned about not having the appropriate technology tools to support hybrid work, compared with all executives in the survey (28% versus 19%), the report said.
A number of CIOs also worried that hybrid work would hurt in-person corporate culture (26%), have an impact on revenue growth (26%) and cause managers to treat on-site and remote workers differently (26%).
Other concerns included have effective cybersecurity measures in place for hybrid work (23) and the negative impact it might have on innovation (22%).
CIOs and CTOs ranked data privacy, cybersecurity and compliance concerns at the top of the list of technology challenges they face with the hybrid model, with 43% calling it the biggest challenge they face.
Other challenges with hybrid work included digital upskilling (36%), balancing the tech-driven experience of remote and on-site workers (34%), an increase in shadow IT (33%), degraded or inconsistent IT support services (25%), lack of clear ownership over technology investments (25%), inability to scale up/down IT resources as needed (24%) and inability to demonstrate value of technology investments (24%).
To improve hybrid work, about half of the technology executives surveyed (49%) cited analytics to drive better decision-making as their top priority, the report said.
Other priority areas are security by design (37%), cloud-centric operating models (36%) and AI to personalize products, services, experiences (33%).
The survey also contains a wealth of data from other industries.
In the results from all industries, the survey found that 65% of employees were looking for a new job and that 88% of executives reported that they were seeing higher than usual turnover.
Two thirds of both executives and employees favored a vaccine mandate as a precondition to returning to work.
The full report is available here.
George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.
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