With an estimated 14.1 million people in Britain want flexibility in their working hours of location, recent research has shown that less than one in 10 “decently paid” job vacancies mention flexible working options – meaning that skills starved employers are failing to attract the best candidates.
The research from consultancy and jobs site Timewise says that the equivalent to almost half the working population want flexibility, yet only 6.2% of 3.5 million job adverts analysed both mentioned a degree of flexibility and offered a salary deemed high enough to live on – the full time equivalent of £20,000 or more.
Employers were failing to capitalise on changes to the way people work to get the skilled workers they need according to the research funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.
The best opportunities for flexible working were in Scotland, Northern Ireland and the north of England, with London the worst place to find flexible work that paid the decent wage.
The flexible working options also varied greatly by sector, with the highest proportion of job advertised offering flexibility being health and social care, leading the way with 20%. Education jobs were next, with 13% offering flexibility, with engineering and manufacturing roles and creative roles, covering PR, advertising and marketing being the lowest ranked for flexibility.
Karen Mattison, the report’s co-author and chief executive of Timewise, suggested that hiring practices had not kept up with technological advances that had led to a “revolution” in the work world
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Talking to the Guardian she said: “Businesses are missing out, as they consistently fail to realise just how important flexibility is to people looking for a new role. This often results in the best talent having to trade down, and take jobs way beneath their level of skill and ability.”
As the advertised job’s salary increases the flexibility declines, the research also found.
“Whilst there is a significant proportion of flexible roles advertised below £20,000 Full Time Equivalent (FTE), a candidate looking for flexible work below £30,000 FTE will find around twice the job opportunities (as a proportion of all jobs at that level), compared to a candidate looking for work at over £40,000 FTE,” the report says.