Investment professionals support hybrid working model

Double the amount of investment professionals are working 60 hours a week during lockdown, but the industry prefers hybrid workplaces in the future despite the burnout from work/home lives being blurred, according to a report. 

The CFA Institute report ‘The Future of Work in Investment Management’ was the first of four-part research study that examined examining the changes that investment organisations and professionals are likely to adopt post-pandemic. 

The report found the future of work in investment management was in hybrid workplaces as 87% of women they would like to work remotely part of the time with 80% of men that agreed. 

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Employers supported their workforces' desire to work remotely, with strong support for remote-work policies jumping from 15% pre-pandemic to 77% post-pandemic. 

But investment leaders were unanimous in their concern that mental health issues were the greatest threat to employee wellbeing – 100% of investment organisation leaders reported mental health issues were a top concern followed by the impact of childcare and eldercare support (80%) on their staff. 

Given the blurring of home and work life, many investment professionals worked more hours during this time, leading to burnout – the number of respondents working more than 60 hours per week nearly doubled during the pandemic to 15% from 8%. 

However, the study revealed that 20% of Australian respondents experienced a reduction in their total compensation since January 2020. 

Other finds from the report included: 

  • Those earlier in their careers, with less than two years since earning the CFA charter, were least likely to want to work remotely, given that it was more difficult to learn from others in a remote environment, without the benefit of a robust professional network; 
  • Investment professionals (53%) believed that remote work increased their efficiency, which included those who were thought to be incompatible with remote work, such as chief financial officers and traders; 
  • Investment professionals reported a shift in what motivates them most at work, with workplace flexibility and having good team members becoming more important which could be a direct result of the social isolation of the pandemic; 
  • On the positive side, 75% of investment professionals are confident their jobs will be secure over the next 18 to 24 months; 
  • Remote working created an urgency for new skills, with 91% of professionals saying it is important for them to actively develop new professional skills, but less than half receive support from their company to do this; and 
  • Some 59% cited culture improved because their staff learned more about their colleagues. 

Lisa Carroll, CFA Societies Australia chief executive, said the pandemic provided an opportunity for employers and employees to reconsider the future of work in financial services, with remote working now the norm. 

“Investment jobs have been resilient during the COVID-19 disruption and Australia is no different,” Carroll said. 

“Just 10% of professionals saw their employment status change because of COVID-19. That highlights that investment roles are well suited for remote working.  

“We are seeing evidence of that during the current lockdowns in Sydney and Melbourne, where investment professionals are successfully getting on with their jobs from home.” 

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