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Lucie Mitchell

Sift Media

Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone

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Employers urged to be more transparent about flexible working


Two in every five full-time employees are keen to work flexibly, yet only 25% of job adverts state whether flexible working is even a possibility, according to new research.

This is despite the fact that 91% of managers would be happy to talk to candidates about flexible working options during the recruitment process, the report found.

Only one in four of the roles advertised by managers in the past year stated that flexible working was a possibility, even though nearly half of the roles they recruited ‘could have been filled by a talented flexible worker’, findings showed.

Recruitment site Timewise, which conducted the study, warned that potential flexible workers looking for new jobs still face a “hidden market”, and urged employers to be up front about flexible working options early in the recruitment process – when the job is advertised – or risk missing out on talent.

The survey quizzed over 1,160 workers and 500 managers ahead of the extension of the right to request flexible working to all employees, due to come into force on 30 June 2014.

Karen Mattison MBE, co-founder of Timewise, said that flexibility is moving from niche to mainstream.

“8.7 million full-time workers now want some choice on where and when they work. In today’s post-recession market, employers are having to fight harder for talent, and yet by playing their cards too close to their chests when it comes to alternative working structures, they miss a key advantage.

“Talented and skilled people are actively searching for workplaces that offer a more modern approach, where quality of performance is rated more than the pattern it took to get there.”

According to official figures, just over 8 million people currently work part-time and around 4 million usually work from home.

Other findings from the report revealed that 57% of managers report flexible working being discussed for the first time at interview stage; while 69% believed that flexible workers are ‘less ambitious’ than full-time workers.

Lynn Rattigan, deputy chief operating officer UK & Ireland at Ernst & Young, added: “There is still a cultural challenge for many businesses around flexible working: to understand that reduced hours doesn’t ever mean less commitment.

“Cultural change inevitably takes time but the more role models we have, the easier it will become to unlock opportunities for both the talented people who need to work differently and the employers who would benefit from their skills.” 

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Lucie Mitchell

Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone

Read more from Lucie Mitchell

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