It said 14.1 million Britons want to work flexibly but are competing over a ‘handful’ of jobs that offer decent salaries and the option to work flexibly.
Funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, the Timewise Flexible Jobs Index analysed 3.5 million UK-based job vacancies on 122 job boards from July-December 2014 and ranked different areas of the UK for flexible opportunities.
Timewise chief executive Karen Mattison MBE, who co-authored the research, said: “The world of work has experienced a revolution – technology advances and recent legislations have facilitated a huge growth in flexible working, yet this has not been reflected in hiring practices. 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. It’s time we reboot the way we recruit in Britain.”
By not offering flexibility in recruitment advertising, employers are cutting themselves off from a growing proportion of the candidate market, which includes some of the very best available talent, the report said.
It found that flexible opportunities are better outside of London. Candidates looking for flexible jobs have comparatively greater opportunities in Scotland, Northern Ireland and in the north of England. Timewise speculated that employers have not felt the need to adapt to demand for flexible jobs in the capital, due to the plentiful supply of candidates.
Meanwhile, health and education jobs are leading the way in flexible working. Roles within the engineering, manufacturing and creative (PR, advertising and marketing) industries, which are hit by a skills shortage, rank the lowest when it comes to advertising jobs with flexible working options.
Flexibility also declines at higher salary levels. There is a significant proportion of flexible roles advertised below £20,000 FTE, and 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), than a candidate looking for work at over £40,000 FTE.
Lynn Rattigan, chief operating officer at EY, UK & Ireland, said: “One of the major challenges facing most businesses across the country, is attracting and retaining the right people. Yet many organisations are restricting their search by applying the traditional concept of a 9-5 working week, which is fast becoming an outdated concept. There is a growing pool of talent, not just parents, who are looking for flexible roles that allow them to balance their professional and personal ambitions.”