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Deloitte and Workplace Intelligence Survey: 66% of Financial Services Leaders Working Remote or Hybrid Would Leave Their Firm if Required to Work in the Office Full Time

NEW YORK, Aug. 8, 2023 — Since 2019, Deloitte’s “Within reach” series has explored whether worldwide gender equity in financial services leadership is, indeed, within reach. Today, Deloitte released a new report in this series in collaboration with independent research organization, Workplace Intelligence, examining the experiences and expectations of leaders in large U.S. financial services institutions.

The survey revealed that for both men and women, workplace arrangements are top of mind. Flexibility and the ability to work remotely continue to be highly valued, so much so that most leaders say they’d rather leave their job than go into the office fulltime. This suggests that financial services institutions with strict return-to-office mandates could face the possibility of losing their pipeline of leaders.

The report, “Cultivating employee engagement in financial services,” explores the powerful link between flexible and remote work arrangements and engagement, retention, and other key outcomes. It also considers how U.S. financial services institutions can develop more thoughtful return-to-office policies that support long-term employee engagement.

Key findings from the report include:

  • Strict return-to-office mandates could impact retention. Among leaders surveyed who work remotely at least part of the time, 66% say it’s likely they’d leave their current job if their company required them to return to the office five days a week.
  • Caregivers are more likely to be affected by return-to-offices mandates. Leaders with caregiving responsibilities surveyed were 1.3 times more likely than non-caregivers to say they’d leave their organization if their company eliminated their ability to work remotely.
  • Leaders surveyed prefer flexible work arrangements over prescribed workplace models. Some financial services institutions now require their workforce to go into the office three to four days a week. However, only 18% of respondents say this would be their ideal arrangement.
  • While remote working has improved engagement and well-being, most surveyed leaders believe it will put them at a disadvantage. Among leaders with hybrid work arrangements, 62% of respondents say they would prefer to work remotely more often but feel it would be bad for their career.
  • Financial services institutions may face a shrinking pipeline of future female leaders in the years to come. Almost half (45%) of women respondents in senior leadership roles report being likely to leave their current employer over the next year.

Executives at U.S. financial services institutions should consider these findings a call to action. Working in the office can create a win-win situation for organizations and their employees, but this may not happen as long as return-to-office mandates are likely to be met with resistance.

To address this situation, businesses should make gradual changes to working arrangements and continue to offer employees as much flexibility as possible. Companies should also focus on enhancing the in-office experience and taking steps to ensure that employees are treated equitably no matter where they’re working from.

“This latest report puts timely and relevant data behind the notion that flexibility in workplace arrangements is a driving force in employee engagement,” said Neda Shemluck, U.S. financial services DEI leader and managing director at Deloitte Services LP. “As employers work to establish their in-office policies, it’s important that they carefully examine how to optimize in-person interactions, identify the most suitable tasks for remote work, and empower employees with flexibility. With nearly half of the women respondents in senior leadership roles saying they are likely to leave their current employer over the next 12 months, organizations have an opportunity to build a more dynamic and engaged workforce while attracting, advancing and retaining top talent.”

“Financial services institutions should be immensely concerned that many of their leaders — particularly women in senior leadership roles — have one foot out the door,” added Dan Schawbel, managing partner at Workplace Intelligence. “While returning to the office can help organizations achieve their business objectives, companies should do so in a way that doesn’t sacrifice employee engagement and well-being.”

For more insights, access the full report here.

Research findings are based on a survey conducted in April 2023 by Deloitte and Workplace Intelligence of 700 full-time executives with job titles of manager or equivalent and above, exclusive of CXO officers, in U.S. financial services organizations. The sample size was split evenly between respondents identifying as either men or women. The survey targeted the following four industry segments with the minimum annual revenue thresholds as noted: banking and capital markets ($1 billion+), insurance ($1 billion+), investment management ($500 millon+), and commercial real estate ($100 million+).

The survey explored issues around work arrangements, engagement, belonging, industry sentiments, remote workplace impact, career advancement, manager evaluation, employee expectations, reasons for possibly leaving, and work-life balance.

About Workplace Intelligence
Workplace Intelligence is a thought leadership and research agency focused on the world of work. We help companies, and their executives, tell their workplace story in a meaningful, relevant, and impactful way using primary data, insights, and interviews. For more information go to our website and subscribe to our LinkedIn newsletter.

About Deloitte
Deloitte provides industry-leading audit, consulting, tax and advisory services to many of the world’s most admired brands, including nearly 90% of the Fortune 500® and more than 7,000 private companies. Our people come together for the greater good and work across the industry sectors that drive and shape today’s marketplace — delivering measurable and lasting results that help reinforce public trust in our capital markets, inspire clients to see challenges as opportunities to transform and thrive, and help lead the way toward a stronger economy and a healthier society. Deloitte is proud to be part of the largest global professional services network serving our clients in the markets that are most important to them. Building on more than 175 years of service, our network of member firms spans more than 150 countries and territories. Learn how Deloitte’s approximately 415,000 people worldwide connect for impact at

Media Contact:

Alice Hartnett
Public Relations
Deloitte Services LP
+1 980 701 3647

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