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Increased flexibility transforming the way Scots want to work, finds PwC study

Posted: 22nd April 2021

Almost half of Scots believe increased flexibility will become transformative to the way they work over the next three to five years, according to PwC’s Upskilling Hopes and Fears 2021 survey.

The survey, part of a global study of attitudes to work, found 48% of Scots believe the approach to remote working as a result of the pandemic will change the way they work – ahead of the UK average. The majority of respondents said there were elements of their current role that could be carried out remotely.

Further to this, 46% of Scots expect technological advancements to also play a major role in creating the workplace of the future, ahead of 43% across the UK.

Almost two-thirds (63%) revealed that they would prefer either an equal balance between remote and in-office work, or weighted more toward remote working, and 70% said they felt confident about mastering new technologies if they were introduced into their workplace.

Meanwhile, 37% responded that global shifts in economic activity and where services are performed will play a role, reflective of Scotland’s opportunity to be a global tech-leader capable of attracting top talent.

Furthermore, 63% said the most important factor in their work was doing a job that makes a difference, and 72% confirmed they wanted to work for a company committed to making a positive change in society.

In addition, 60% of those surveyed said they had at least some digital skills, while only one in five said they were not digitally proficient enough to do their job. With 27% saying that the opportunity to develop their skills has been limited by a lack of technology, emphasising the need for employers to consider including increased investment in upskilling their workforce as part of their wider recovery plans from the pandemic.

This is evidenced in 39% of respondents admitting they were worried about what the future of work holds and how it will affect them, with 30% agreeing with the same statement in regards to their children.

Susie Simpson, Head of Private Business for PwC Scotland, said:

“It’s encouraging to see that on the whole, Scotland is positive about the future of work and keen to embrace new methods of working. The global pandemic has given employers the opportunity to seize on this and implement the changes that employees would like to see, such as more remote working and becoming more proficient in technological advancements.

“By giving employees the power to control their working day and environment, and providing ample upskilling opportunities, employers can help alleviate the trepidation and uncertainty that some Scots have about what the future of work means for them.”

Business Comment

Business Comment is the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce’s bi-monthly magazine. It provides insight on Edinburgh’s vibrant business community, with features on the city’s key sectors, interviews with leading figures and news on new business developments in the capital.
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