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Call time on search for the ‘ideal worker’

Who is the proverbial ‘ideal worker’? New research tells us he is young, male and unattached – but this mentality is stifling growth opportunities for business.

Research conducted by workforce solutions provider Kronos identified a pre-disposition among Australian employers to look for the same types of employees over and over again, instead of seeking diversity.

Peter Harte, Asia-Pacific vice president at Kronos commented that while many employers contend with skills shortages, too many businesses maintain the belief that accommodating the work/life balance of employees is either too costly or disruptive to creating a high-performance team.

“Instead, businesses have an inclination toward employing those people that fit the mould of least disruption. As a result they’re missing out on a wealth of experienced talent that has to languish in the background because employers are unwilling to meet their needs and circumstances,” Harte said.

Many business decision-makers continue to believe that a sense of dedication and commitment to work full-time is only possible through constant ‘face-time’ in the workplace.

Harte added that those workers who don’t seem to fit the ‘criteria’ might be labeled as uninterested or unengaged. While many of the ideal characteristics are perhaps not surprising, it is necessary for business leaders to question whether the pre-conceived notions about the ‘ideal worker’ mean they are missing talent that is right under their noses.

“Businesses can no longer ignore the huge impact of work-life balance on employee productivity and performance. They must be more agile and flexible in accommodating the life changes of their employees, or risk losing out on the innovations and increased productivity that comes with the varied perspectives and experiences of a diverse workforce,” Harte said.

Key findings:

  • Twice as many employers believe males (38 per cent) are more desirable workers than women (19 per cent).
  • Almost three-quarters (72 per cent) of the employers felt that employees that reach parenthood are more likely to transition to part-time working hours, potentially causing disruptions to the workplace as they require the businesses to offer more flexible working arrangements.
  • Likewise, more than half (53 per cent) said the same for the mature age workers leading up to retirement, expecting them to want to work less or more flexible hours.
  • In addition, almost 40 per cent of business decision-makers prefer employees without children, in comparison to only 18 per cent who consider employees with children desirable.

The survey questioned 500 business decision-makers and 2,000 employees within Australian organisations across a mixture of labour-intensive industries including healthcare, retail, and manufacturing.

Stephanie Zillman

Stephanie Zillman

Stephanie is the editor-at-large of Dynamic Business. Stephanie brings with her a passion for journalism, business, and new ideas. On her days off, you might find her reading a book on the beach.

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