CIPD: Flexible working should be more commonplace in UK workforce

When looking for a new role, there are many things that job hunters take into consideration -salary, location, career progression – and more increasingly, flexible working opportunities.

The issue of flexible working has been highlighted more in recent weeks with the nationwide heatwave leaving many dreading their long commutes and humid offices.

However, job flexibility is not a benefit available to all and in many careers is simply not possible.

The latest Flexible Jobs Index published by The Timewise Foundation, shows that despite the demand for flexible working being at an all-time high, as many as 87% of employees either work flexibly or wish they could, less than a quarter of full time job opportunities are being advertised as flexible.

Since the index was introduced in 2016, the percentage of jobs being advertised as flexible has only risen by a small amount. This highlights the need to further challenge employers to change their approach when it comes to the traditional model of a job.

As many as 87% of employees either work flexibly or wish they could. Currently, flexible working is offered to 21.2% of jobs with earnings under £20k and only 11.1% of jobs with salaries over £20k.

The first comprehensive survey of the UK workforce by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) lists these as the most common examples of working flexibly:

  • 42% have access to flexi-time (ability to choose the start and finish time of the working day)
  • 40% are able to work from home during normal business hours
  • 34% have the chance to reduce their working hours (e.g. full time to part time)
  • 25% have to option to work compressed hours (the same number of hours per week across fewer days)
  • 12% are able to job share (sharing a full-time role with another person)
  • 11% are able to only work during school term times

In a blogpost for CIPD, Katerina Rüdiger, Head of Member, Branch and Community Engagement writes:

“[…] imminent restrictions to migrant labour flows due to Brexit, means that employers will need to recruit from a broader and more diverse talent pool. Promoting genuine flexibility in the workplace is not just for the benefit of employees; it makes workplaces more inclusive…”

In collaboration with the Timewise Foundation, the CIPD is running a pilot with 20 members in London and Manchester to act as Flexible Hiring Champions. These members are volunteers that come from a range of sectors including charities, housing, finance and media. They are already making successful changes to help increase the number of roles advertised as flexible at the point of hire.

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