UK’s men and women have significantly different attitudes toward flexible working

Attitudes to flexible workingAs we have seen, the implementation of new flexible working legislation in the UK at the end of June has already shone a spotlight into some intriguing corners of the nation’s workplace. The latest revelation, according to a new survey from recruitment firm Kelly Services, is that men and women have markedly different attitudes towards the idea. While just over half (51 percent)of the UK’s female workers believe that the chance of flexible working would make an organisation a more attractive employer, just over a third of their male counterparts (36 percent) feel the same way. Similarly, a fifth of women surveyed (20  percent) would consider moving job in search of flexible working arrangements compared 15 percent of men and nearly two thirds of women (62 percent) believe  their ideal working environment would include flexible working arrangements compared to under half of men (49 percent).

Generational differences also exist.  According to Kelly’s research, significantly more Generation X workers (born 1965-1979) in the UK (59  percent) indicated their ideal work environment would include flexible work arrangements compared to other generations (50 percent Generation Y (born 1980-1995), 56 percent Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964)).

Gary Jones, managing director, UK and Ireland for Kelly Services, said, “It is of course great news that an extra 20 million UK workers have been granted the right to request flexible working. Many businesses have this to their workforce for years, irrespective of childcare needs. Yet it remains to be seen the extent to which employers will accommodate the requests for flexible working, and how much the new right will be taken up by male workers, many of whom have always regarded flexible working as part of a routine centred on childcare. Many of those businesses which have embraced flexible working attest to the benefits it brings, including an increase in staff retention and increase in productivity.”