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New research reveals that almost nine in ten (87 per cent) of the UK’s full-time workforce either currently work flexibly or would like to do so. And those who want it? It’s not who you may think...
Despite preconceptions that flexible working1 is primarily for mothers and those with parenting responsibilities who want or need to work part time hours, today’s new research from flexibility experts Timewise lifts the lid on the scale of the UK’s would-be flexible workforce.
The new data busts the ‘mum myth’ about who works flexibly and why, and highlights how much UK businesses have underestimated the demand for a pattern of working that shuns the 9 to 5 routine. It’s clear that for the men and women on the ground, flexible working means much more than part-time, with home and remote working and flexible hours all showing popularity.
The research, from today’s new report Flexible Working: A Talent Imperative, reveals that more than 6 in 10 (63 per cent) permanent full time employees now work flexibly in some way, and of those who don’t, nearly two thirds (64 per cent) would prefer to2. A staggering 1 in 4 (25 per cent) of all full time workers would specifically prefer to work part-time for part-time wages if it did not affect their pay per hour or career progression.
The combined data indicates that 87% of full-time employees either currently work flexibly, or would like to work part-time or flexibly – with a strong preference for non-traditional working patterns from both male (84 per cent) and female (91 per cent) full time workers3.
And Generation Y is leading the charge. More than 7 in 10 (73 per cent) of those aged 18 to 34 who are working full-time, do so flexibly4.
A further 7 in 10 (69 per cent) of those who do not currently work flexibly would like to do so.
However, with less than 1 in 10 quality jobs – paying £20,000 FTE or above – advertised as being open to flexible working options5, the UK’s jobs market is currently increasingly out of step with how British workers are currently working, and how they need and want to. This is trapping millions who are either unable to progress their careers on a flexible basis, or are locked-out of the jobs market completely, due to their need to work flexibly.
Given the levels of uncertainty about the potential impact of Brexit on the workplace, the new requirements to publish gender pay figures and the rise of automation, getting flexibility right will be an imperative for employers who want to attract and keep the best possible people at a time of skills shortages. From how they recruit to how they design intrinsically flexible jobs, businesses and organisations nationwide can no longer afford to be behind the curve.
Today’s report examines the working patterns of those in full-time, part-time and self-employment, as well as those not in work. We look at how all groups would like to work and the reasons for preferring flexible working patterns.
The survey included British workers aged 18+, analysed in the following age groups: 18 to 34 year olds, 35 to 54 year olds, and 55 year olds and above.
The most important reasons that full-time workers who work flexibly find this to be important include:
The story of today’s flexible Britain will be told through the Timewise Power 50 awards – a new roll-call of the UK’s top flexible workers, reflecting the changing shape of today’s workplace and how jobs are designed – in partnership with EY, Dixons Carphone and Diageo.
The new Power 50 awards build upon the ground-breaking success of the Power Part Time list which, for the last five years, has profiled some of the UK’s most senior business men and women who work in senior roles, in less than full-time hours, proving that part-time can also be business-critical and ambitious.
With a growing recognition of new definitions of success and an ever evolving flexible jobs market which is not limited to traditional part-time working patterns, the new Timewise Power 50 awards will champion both the trailblazers who have progressed and defined their own success and careers on a flexible basis, and the businesses which embrace flexible hiring to attract and progress them.
Timewise Joint CEO Karen Mattison is today calling – along with a judging panel including some of the UK’s most prominent business leaders6 – for nominations for the following five new categories:
Karen Mattison MBE, Timewise Co-Founder, says:
“The fact that flexible working has been seen as a women’s issue has not done women or businesses any favours. Today’s new research shows once and for all that flexible working is a preferred way of working for both men and women at all stages of their working lives. Today’s workforce not only want it, but they expect it. It’s time for businesses to get smarter and use flexibility as a tool to attract and keep the best people. Those who lag behind in adapting how they hire, will risk losing out on millions of skilled workers”.
Lynn Rattigan, Chief Operating Officer at EY UK & Ireland, which is supporting today’s new research report, commented:
“Today’s new research shows there is clear demand from the UK workforce for flexibility – people of all ages want it and need it throughout their life and career.
“What’s more, the working world is being transformed by advances in technology with the rise of the gig economy and a flexible working policy is no longer enough. Smart companies are already adapting by hiring flexibly, designing roles and working patterns creatively, and using more contingent workers – overall, establishing an agile working workforce and culture fit for the future.
“At EY our flexible approach has become the way we do business. Our people tell us it is a benefit which improves motivation and is a key reason for joining or staying with the firm. We hope that other companies will capitalise on the benefits too and help future-proof the UK’s job market.”
The new 2018 Timewise Power 50 awards is brought to you in partnership with EY, Dixons Carphone and Diageo, and will be revealed by Management Today early in 2018.
For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact Campaign Director, Daniela Marchesi: t: 0207 633 4553; m: 0797 3300059 e: Daniela.Marchesi@timewise.co.uk
Unless otherwise referenced, all data in this report is from a survey commissioned by Timewise from ComRes. ComRes interviewed 3,001 UK adults online between 13th and 26th June 2017. Within these sub-samples: 1,250 full-time employees; 750 part-time employees; 500 self-employed people; 501 people who were not working but wanted to work. All participants were aged 18+. The data for full-time employees and for part-time employees was weighted to be representative of the UK working population for those employment types, other data were unweighted.
1. In this report, flexible working is defined as a pattern of working that is either part-time or, if full-time, that offers one of these forms of flexibility:
Flexible working in this report does NOT refer to zero-hour contracts, temping, commission only or franchise opportunities.
2. 63 per cent of full-time employees say they currently work flexibly in some way. Of the 37 per cent who do NOT work flexibly, 56 per cent would prefer to. Of all full-time employees, 25 per cent would prefer to work part-time. Combined together, this indicates that 87 per cent of full-time employees either work flexibly already, say they want to work flexibly or say they would prefer to work part-time.
3. The preference for / incidence of flexible/part-time working is strong for both genders: 84 per cent of male full-time workers; 91 per cent of female full-time workers. Among full-time workers, 92 per cent of 18-34 year olds; 88 per cent of 35-54 year olds; 72 per cent of those aged 55+ either currently work flexibly, would like to work flexibly or would prefer to work part-time.
4. 73 per cent of those aged 18 to 34 who work full time, work flexibly. Of the 27% who do NOT work flexibly, 58% would prefer to.
5. Source: Timewise’s third annual Flexible Jobs Index. Launched in 2015, Timewise has committed to tracking the UK’s flexible vacancy market for 10 years. The Timewise Flexible Jobs Index 2017 is based on analysis of 6 million job ads from over 300 UK job boards in the period September to December 2016. The data source was CEB Talent Neuron, and jobs were filtered using 14 keywords relating to different forms of flexible working. The following job types were excluded from the analysis: zero-hours, temping, self-employed, commission only, freelance, franchise opportunities.
6. The judging panel for the new Timewise Power 50 List includes: Lynn Rattigan (Chief Operating Officer for EY UK&I); Katie Bickerstaffe (Chief Executive Officer for Dixons Carphone UK&I); Andrew Porter (Head of Talent Engagement for Europe, Diageo); Sophie Cornish (co-founder, Notonthehighstreet.com); Nicola Mendelsohn (VP for EMEA, facebook); Sam Baker (CEO and Co-Founder, The Pool); Sally Bundock (BBC World Business Report & BBC Business Live presenter); Andy Saunders (Management Today); as well as Emma Stewart, CEO & Co-Founder, Timewise & Karen Mattison, Co-Founder, Timewise.
Timewise is a multi-award winning social business, working to unlock the flexible jobs market in the UK. We share market insights on flexible working and flexible hiring, deliver training and consultancy to help businesses attract and develop the best talent, and conduct research such as our annual Flexible Jobs Index. We also run Timewise Jobs, a national jobs board for roles that are part-time or open to flexibility.
Timewise is led by award-winning founders, Karen Mattison and Emma Stewart, CEO. They have been listed as two of the UK’s leading radical thinkers by the Observer newspaper and Nesta; named ‘Small Business Heroes’ by Management Today magazine and ‘two of the key social entrepreneurs to watch’ by Real Business magazine; and are winners of the Institute of Directors’ Women Changing the Business World award, following nominations from the UK public. In 2010 they were made MBEs for their services to social enterprise.