Employers unable to meet growing demand for flexible working, claims study

A growing number of employees are frustrated in their attempts to adopt flexible working by the inability of employers to offer it, a new study claims. Based on the survey of 3,001 British employees, recruitment firm Timewise and consultancy EY claims that fewer than a tenth of jobs offering more than £20,000 per year pro rata are advertised with a flexible working option. This puts employers at a disadvantage because around two fifths of people claim they would prefer some form of flexible working, according to the report Flexible Working: A Talent Imperative.

However, the study also claims that 63 percent of full-time staff are already working flexibly, 40 percent of whom work under an informal arrangement with their employers. There is no significant gender split, with 84 percent of male full-time workers and 91 percent of female workers reporting that they work flexibly or would like to work flexibly.

According to the report, younger people are particularly keen on flexibility: 69 percent of 18-34 year olds in full-time work would like to work flexibly and a similar proportion (73 percent) already work flexibly. The report claims that 25 percent of those in full-time work would prefer to work part time if it didn’t affect their pay per hour or career progression.

Key findings:

  • 63 percent of full-time employees already work flexibly in some way.
  • 87 percent of all full-time employees either work flexibly already, or say they want to.
  • The preference for flexible working is strong for both sexes: 84 percent of male full-time employees either work flexibly already, or say they want to. For women this rises to 91 percent.
  • Younger workers want it most: 92 percent either work flexibly or say they want to.
  • Amongst the different types of flexible working patterns, 1 in 4 (25 percent) of all full-time employees would specifically prefer to work part-time for part-time wages.
  • 93 percent of non-workers who want a job would prefer to work either part-time, or flexibly in a full-time role.
  • Among self-employed people, 89 percent work flexibly.
  • People are most likely to say their reason for wanting to work flexibly is work/life balance, or it being generally useful or convenient. Other key reasons include commuting issues, leisure or study interests, and caring responsibilities.