Half of working parents would leave in search of flexible working

A proud dad with a smiling child on his shoulders to illustrate why people want flexible workingA new YouGov poll commissioned by Working Families and SF Recruitment claims to underscore the impact and importance of employers prioritising flexible working as part of their recruitment strategy. Launched to mark the start of National Work Life Week (10-14 October), the poll of 992 UK parents of children aged 18 and under demonstrates that advertising all vacant roles with flexible options stated by default widens the talent pool for employers and unlocks opportunities for parents.

“This research demonstrates that flexible working is no longer a nice-to-have; it’s a must-have”, says Jane van Zyl, Chief Executive of Working Families. “Flexibility is a top priority for parents in the UK, and if employers want to stay competitive, it’s vital that they start to examine the ways that each of their roles can be done flexibly, and advertise them as such. Our polling clearly shows that recruiting flexibly has a massive positive impact on talent attraction and retention. And with the current cost-of-living crisis putting so many families into financial jeopardy, offering flexible roles at the point of recruitment opens opportunities to those who have caring responsibilities but who desperately need additional income. Recruiting in this way is good for people and good for business.”

The research claims that:

  • Parents are much more likely to apply for roles that list flexible working options in the job advert than those that don’t.  The poll found that 8 in 10 UK parents (82 percent) would be likely to apply for a role that listed flexible working options, while only 3 in 10 parents (31 percent) would be likely to apply for a role that did not list flexible working options.
  • Parents looking for work are even more likely to apply for jobs with flexible options: our poll found that 9 in 10 unemployed parents in the UK would be likely to apply for a role that listed flexible options in the job advert.
  • Access to flexibility impacts retention: over half of UK working parents (55 percent) would likely consider leaving their job if they found another one that offered more flexible options.
  • For all UK parents, flexibility (66 percent) is second only to pay (73 percent) in terms of priorities when looking for a new job. However, for mothers, flexibility and pay are tied as the top priority.
  • Of the UK parents currently in work, 3 in 10 are in jobs below their skill level because their jobs offer greater flexibility. This shows a need for more high-quality part-time and flexible roles in the labour market.
  • Employers need to think beyond just home and hybrid working: nearly half of these parents (46 percent) work in place-based roles, roles that cannot be done remotely because the work has to take place at a specific location.