Happy together: the asset management industry heads back to the office? has been saved
Happy together: the asset management industry heads back to the office?
Asset management future of work trends
Are you back in the office? For many in asset management, it’s no longer optional. The industry has started to move from gentle encouragement to a mandatory “3 days in, 2 days remote” model. We interviewed leaders to see what’s behind the trend. They revealed what they really think about the future of a five-day, in-office workweek in the asset management industry.
Work trends in the asset management industry
For the first time since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, it appears that many companies will be headed back to the office, at least on a hybrid basis, beginning sometime after Labor Day. The financial sector has been especially vocal about its desire to return to a pre-pandemic in-office experience. Leaders of asset management firms, both large and small, as well as executives of numerous banks and investment firms, are growing increasingly insistent about the need to re-populate their offices, citing such reasons as improving productivity, energizing innovation, encouraging engagement among employees, and reinforcing corporate culture. As the headline of a recent Wall Street Journal article makes clear: “Enough, Bosses Say: This Fall, It Really Is Time to Get Back to the Office.”
While CEOs and leadership teams may be eager to quickly return to something close to the pre-pandemic 100% in-office model, that outcome is far from assured. As the above-noted Wall Street Journal article noted: “what makes the return effort more complex now is that many employees say they appreciate the flexibility that comes with remote work and hope to retain at least a hybrid arrangement.”
To better understand the impact of COVID-19 on working environment trends in the asset management industry, Casey Quirk has been researching this issue since the onset of the pandemic.
Where we work is suddenly a top CEO priority.
What the views of CEOs indicate about the future of work in the asset management industry
In recent months, we noticed a major change in tone from management on the issue of returning to the office. This led us to conduct a deep dive into the topic through in-depth interviews with the leadership teams (primarily CEOs, HR heads, and COOs) of 28, predominately large, global asset management firms who are setting their firm’s return-to-work policies. The 28 firms collectively:
- manage approximately $48 trillion in assets
- employ more than 164,930 professionals
- span 54 countries
Casey Quirk’s interviews indicate that firms are working to strike a balance between the requirements of their businesses and the realities of retaining a motivated, talented, and productive workforce.
Relative to prior research conducted on work policies, this deep dive revealed that where we work has suddenly become a top CEO priority. Fears that remote work is draining the “cultural batteries” of their firms was consistently cited by CEOs as the major driver behind their desire to make changes. Leaders were also consistent in their belief that the benefits of being in the office are largely muted if a significant majority of the workforce is not there together–creating a sense of “critical mass” was crucially important for an effective office environment.
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