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Pay Rises and Flexibility Go Mainstream as Staff Shortages Bite

By Emily Cadman

 The majority of businesses are raising wages and offering more flexible working conditions as they struggle to hire and retain staff, according to a UBS Group AG survey.

It found 74 percent of firms globally are offering more flexible hours, 71 percent more choice on work locations and 66 percent have increased base pay.

Photo by Thirdman from Pexels

The push to offer better terms and conditions comes amid an increasingly tight labor market, with widespread reports internationally of staff shortages across multiple industries, particularly in the likes of hospitality, construction and transportation. 

Over 80 percent of respondents to the UBS survey said they are having problems with both recruitment and retention of staff.

Across the world, labor markets up-ended by the COVID-19 pandemic are struggling to reach any sort of equilibrium, fueling concerns about rising inflation. While economies are opening-up, the spread of the delta variant means case numbers are still high, periodic school closures have left many employees struggling for childcare, while others have left the workforce entirely. 

Green Focus

Separately, the survey also found investors are increasingly confident about the outlook for sustainable investing, with 51 percent globally expecting returns to exceed traditional investing. 

“Investors continue to remain optimistic about the economy and markets, and many plan to increase exposure to risk assets, including a focus on sustainable investments,” said Tom Naratil, Co-President of UBS Global Wealth Management. “With climate change a top concern for investors, many will focus on the progress made at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) and any agreed new measures.” 

The UBS quarterly investment sentiment survey is based on the responses of 3,004 investors with at least $1 million in investable assets and 1,202 business owners with at least $1 million in annual revenue surveyed from Sept. 28 to Oct. 18. The sample was split across 15 markets: Argentina, Brazil, Mainland China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Singapore, Switzerland, the UAE, the U.K. and the U.S. 

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