61% of Recent Graduates Believe Hybrid Working Will Have a Positive Impact on Their Career
Benefits for young professionals include flexibility, reduced costs, increased opportunities for travel while working and feeling valued by employers
61% of young professionals, who have just entered the workforce for the first time, believe that hybrid working will have a positive impact on their career, according to new research from CEMS, the Global Alliance in Management Education of which Koc University Graduate School of Business is a member.
Young professionals believe that working between the office and home provides more flexibility, freedom to travel while working, improved wellbeing, reduced costs and the feeling of being valued by employers,
25% of respondents to the global survey of recent CEMS graduates said they did not think the move to hybrid working would make any difference to their career prospects at all, while only 14% thought the impact would be negative.
The benefits of hybrid work
Following initial survey results, CEMS explored the findings in more depth through qualitative interviews with young professionals around the world who are just entering the workforce.
The majority of interviewees felt that hybrid working was the ideal set up. They spoke of the benefits including:
- Opportunities to travel while working – hybrid offers more flexibility, allowing more time for them to travel and even work whilst travelling (workcations), instead of taking longer vacations.
- Feeling valued. When working in a hybrid way young professionals feel that they are trusted and valued by their employer, as they are provided with freedom to set their own work schedule.
- Broader access to jobs – hybrid adds a whole new layer of flexibility to take on jobs that weren’t accessible in the past.
- Reduced costs – the majority of graduates interviewed mentioned that they could save money and time by living in areas just outside big cities and commuting less frequently.
- Better work/life balance and wellbeing – Hybrid working allows more time to pursue hobbies, study and exercise. It provides more time to spend with family and friends – with an overall positive impact on wellbeing.
- Greater focus. Working between the office and home allows for focus and quiet time to get things done when needed, rather than constantly being in a busy office setting.
Hybrid rather than remote
Interviewees emphasized that they were positive about hybrid working, however not fully remote. They believe that spending face-to-face time with colleagues inside and outside of office hours is vital for career success – in particular networking opportunities, innovation and learning. They stressed the importance of teams regularly meeting in person and having working structures in place.
Commenting on the findings Koç University Graduate School of Business Academic Director Şuhnaz Yılmaz Özbağcı said:
Hybrid work has entered our lives during the Covid 19 pandemic, but it seems like it will be a long lasting trend. The flexibility it provides makes it a desirable option and it also creates new opportunities for internationalization. While entirely remote work is a less desirable option due to the limitations regarding social interaction, hybrid work enables us to reconceptualize the former and more firmer boundaries of the work space.
Nida Bektaş, Koç University Graduate School of Business Executive Director, commented:
Young professionals, when making career choices, predominantly prefer the hybrid working method. Hybrid working is considered advantageous in terms of establishing a work-life balance and providing flexibility. While completely remote work hinders interaction and socialization, hybrid working allows individuals to focus on their careers without necessarily sacrificing their personal life balance, thanks to the flexibility it offers. In line with technological advancements, highly qualified young professionals who embrace the concept of ‘hyper-personalization’ have increased expectations from employers as they enter the business world.
Koç University CEMS student Tolga Kirkali said:
“My generation’s online pandemic experience made us realise that it’s easier to integrate your work life into your own life using online technology. You can build your life personally and make your career fit into that. You just need a computer and you can work from anywhere in the world and I think the whole digital nomad movement is a testament to that.
“Hybrid working is the best of both worlds. You can see people in person and create important bonds but you can also focus on implementation in the way that best suits you. Some people like to work online and some offline, giving employees options mean you get the best from them.”
Organisations must set coherent hybrid strategies
Giorgio Benassi, Group Head of Talent at H&M Group, a CEMS corporate partner, commented:
“When analysing the perspective of our early career population at H&M, we see the same trend emerge – tilting towards the impact of hybrid work being positive. The primary reasons are an increase of productivity, by being able to split time between home and office and finding long-term career sustainability through a positive blend of work and life demands.
“At the same time, we know that networking plays a critical role in determining career possibilities – due to the social nature of human beings – and that effect cannot be entirely removed. So, will recent graduates change their perspective on hybrid work as they move through their careers?
“It will very much depend on how we, as organizations, are able to set coherent hybrid workplace strategies which level the playing field. I believe in the coming years organizations will need to become more intentional with their hybrid workplace strategies, finding ways to maximise people’s time by creating more purposeful ways of being in the office, and at home.”
Graduates seek hybrid work
Nicole de Fontaines, Executive Director of CEMS said:
“Our graduates – many of whom will be in leading positions at some of the world’s most influential companies -are overwhelmingly positive about the move to hybrid work, as it offers them the flexibility they have been craving for many years. They tell us that they are attracted to employers which offer hybrid and are more reluctant to work for those which are unable to accommodate this flexibility.
“On the other hand, they do not want to work remotely full time. Young professionals recognise that regular face-to-face interaction with their colleagues on a weekly basis is vital to their career success – particularly when it comes to relationship building and learning new skills. They do not want to lose that social aspect of work. In this sense employers need to balance the desire for flexible hybrid work with plenty of opportunities for teams to collaborate in person – both inside and outside the office.”
CEMS is a global network of 34 of the world’s top business schools, 70 corporate partners (multinational companies) and 8 social partners (NGOs), dedicated to educating and preparing future generations of international business leaders, through the CEMS Master in International Management (MIM).
The CEMS’ MIM emphasises personal and social responsibility in business decision-making, leadership and citizenship, informed by ethical reasoning, personal integrity, and respect for social diversity. The programme helps students understand and navigate the international business environment, whilst equipping them with the knowledge, skills and network to manage people across borders and within multinational teams, tackling real business issues across a range of fields.