Flexible Working: Revealing What Employees Really Want in 2023

Matthew Owen

Feb 27, 2023

Flexible Working: Revealing What Employees Really Want in 2023


Since the Covid-19 pandemic, the way we work has changed. Flexible working arrangements have become the norm across many industries, and it looks like there is no going back.

But do all employees want it, and is it a top priority when searching for a new role? It’s also important to remember that not every kind of flexible arrangement works for every employee. There are a number of new flexible models which have emerged in recent years, from hybrid working scenarios to compressed working-weeks.

If employers want to Win the War for Talent, they need to find the most attractive model for their target candidates – as well as finding the right balance for the needs of the business.

In this year’s Salary & Benefits Guide 2023, we drill down into how existing employees across key sectors feel about their work life balance. We conducted an extensive survey of 400+ professionals across supply chain, logistics, warehousing, procurement, buying and merchandising, and HR to find out their thoughts & feelings on the subject.

Our researchers asked whether participants were satisfied with current flexible working arrangements and what working model would be their ideal. Here’s just a snapshot of what we found:

Procurement and Purchasing

According to our findings, 45% of employees within this sector currently have access to flexible working hours. Over half of procurement and professionals surveyed have access to hybrid working (a mix of remote and office time) while nearly 12% work remotely all the time. Around 7% do a four day week, while 12% have the option to work overseas.

When asked what working options they preferred the most, 71% named the hybrid model. Only 16% said they’d like to work in the office full-time.

Supply Chain

Currently, 36% of supply chain professionals have access to flexible working benefits. Hybrid working is again the most popular model, with 68% of workers splitting their time between home and the office.

On the question of what their ideal working arrangements would be, 68% named the hybrid model while only 8% said they’d like to return to the office full-time and 20% said they’d like to work remotely full-time.

Logistics, Transport and Warehousing

Just over 28% of employees have access to flexible working within the sector, with 27% in the office full-time. Hybrid working was the most common arrangement (41%), with only 11% working remotely throughout the whole week, unsurprising given most logistics roles are, by necessity, site-based.

Nearly 50% of respondents named hybrid working as their preferred option, while 32% would like a four-day working week. Only 10% said they’d like to work full-time in the office.

Buying and Merchandising

40% of Buying and Merchandising professionals surveyed do flexible working hours currently. 70% use the hybrid model, while 20% are in the office full-time.

But when it comes to preferred working arrangements, work life balance is clearly important for this sector. A massive 90% would like access to hybrid working, with no respondents saying they’d prefer to be in the office. 60% of respondents also ticked the box for the option for a four-day working week.

HR and People

In HR, around 30% of employees have access to flexible working. This includes 60% who follow a hybrid working model, with no one working a four-day week. 23% are in the office full-time.

Around 67% would prefer hybrid working, while 18% would be happy to work remotely full-time. Just 9% want a return to the office full-time.


Our findings share that employees surveyed have some form of flexible working arrangement, however, this is offered to less than half of respondents for each specialism surveyed. As flexible working was one of the most popular options of working arrangements, along with hybrid working, employers should consider whether their EVP needs to incorporate these forms of working arrangements into their company package to enable them to stand out from the crowd.

Overall, if businesses want to attract the best talent in the current skills gap climate, they need to offer the flexibility people are looking for. If you are not offering a good variety to choose from, the talent you need will simply find another company that does.

For market, salary and benefits insights in full, download the CAST UK Salary & Benefits Guide 2023 here.