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PRESS RELEASE: Despite the hiring crisis 3 in 4 job ads still fail to offer flex

Why aren't more employers offering flexible jobs?

  • 74 per cent of UK job vacancies still offer NO flexible working options1. eg part-time, working from home, remote, flexible shiftsaccording to mass annual analysis of 5 million UK job ads by Timewise.
  • The social enterprise & flexible working experts say: ‘hiring must evolve’.
  • And propose measures building on those put forward by the government on the right to request flexible working from day one.

Tuesday 9 November, 2021: Nearly three quarters of UK job vacancies make no reference to flexible working possibilities, say social business & flexible working experts Timewise following unique analysis of more than 5 million job vacancies1.

At present, job vacancies are at their highest level since official records began in 20012 – yet the portion of jobs offering flexible options has grown by just 4 percentage points from 20203, representing a huge missed opportunity to recruit by employers.  At present, half the UK’s employees work flexibly in some form4 and 9 in 10 people say they want flexibility in their next job5. Just over 1 in 4 UK jobs are advertised with flexible working options (26 per cent)6. Meaning that people who need flexibility effectively cannot apply for 3 out of every 4 vacancies on the market.  

Timewise has produced an annual snapshot of the UK labour market since 2015, to see if the portion of jobs advertised with flexible options is rising, what kind of jobs are being offered with flex and at what kind of salary level. Vacancies are filtered using 17 keywords relating to different forms of flexible working, for example: ‘remote working’, ‘home working’ and ‘part-time’.

Other key findings

From the report, Flexible Jobs Index 2021 from 00:01 on Tuesday 9 November are:

  • Part-time work is the preferred working pattern for 20 per cent of UK employees[1], but is offered in just 10 per cent of job adverts.
  • Home or remote working mentions are surprisingly low – they currently only appear in 8 per cent of job ads. This figure has actually reduced slightly in the period since lockdown restrictions were lifted in April 2021 (from 10% during the January-April lockdown).
  • There are disparities in how flexible working is offered across salary levels. This causes blocks in career progression for anyone who cannot work full-time, in an office.
  • Part-time work and low pay are still synonymous – 19 per cent of low paid jobs (up to £20k FTE) mention part-time possibilities. This is the highest ratio of any salary band.
  • Conversely, home-working and flexible working are disproportionately offered at higher salary levels (14 per cent and 10 per cent respectively) and are rarely seen in low-paid vacancies.


Timewise co-founder Emma Stewart MBE comments: “The way that employers are advertising jobs ignores the biggest shake-up of work seen in a generation.  We know that candidates do not want to raise the question; we believe they shouldn’t have to. In the post-pandemic, post-Brexit employment market, where vacancies far outstrip candidate supply, thousands of skilled candidates won’t move until they see that a job clearly offers flexible working from day one. With more than 3 million people still economically inactive due to caring or health reasons, employers are missing out on attracting a wider pool of talent they desperately need7.”

Lynn Rattigan, Chief Operating Officer at EY says: “Timewise’s latest research shows that UK businesses have a real opportunity to attract sought-after talent, particularly at a time when vacancies are at their highest. EY has championed flexible working for many years and all of our vacancies in the UK are advertised as being open to flexibility.”

“The experience of the pandemic has also brought new perspectives and, like many organisations, we’ve been assessing the impact of changing work patterns on how, when and where our people work. That’s why we have introduced a new hybrid working model, enabling our people to split their time between their home, office and client site as appropriate. We believe this will maximise the benefits of both in-person collaboration and flexible remote working for our people and clients.”

Danny Harmer, Chief People Officer, Aviva says: “Offering flexible roles is essential to attract the very best, and most diverse, workforce so it’s good business sense.  Flexible roles also support people with life’s changing demands so they can contribute, for example, to their families and communities while progressing their careers, which is great for society too.”

Fiona Cannon, Group Sustainable Business Director, Lloyds Banking Group says: “At Lloyds Banking Group, we have taken a pro-active approach to agile working and recruitment for many years now and over 93% of our jobs offer a flexible option. The pandemic has accelerated our progress to become a more agile, collaborative, and inclusive organisation. This is helping us to attract new and diverse talent which will help us to meet the changing needs of our customers.”

– ENDS –

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact Jo Burkill:

About Timewise

Timewise ( are flexible working specialists running a flexible working consultancy that helps employers design innovative solutions to attract and retain talented people, and create fair workplaces.

The consultancy is part of a wider multi-award winning social enterprise, that shares market insights on flexible working and flexible hiring, conducts research and runs campaigns and advocates for change on the stigma surrounding part-time and flexible work. It also runs Timewise Jobs ( ), a national jobs board for roles that are part-time or open to flexibility.

Notes to the editor

  1. About the research: The Timewise Flexible Jobs Index 2021 is based on analysis of over 5 million job adverts from over 450 UK job boards across 2 periods:
    I) January to 11 April 2021 (referred to throughout the report as Q1 2021. This was a period of national lockdown due to the pandemic.) II) 12 April to 31 August 2021 (lockdown restrictions were lifted) .
    The data source is Gartner Talent Neuron, and jobs were filtered using 17 keywords relating to different forms of flexible working. Data adjustments have been made to exclude job adverts where flexible working is mentioned, but not as an employee benefit. Note on statistical variation: The Gartner Talent Neuron tool has been upgraded in 2021. Testing indicated that data may be up to +1% different, compared to results from the tool used in previous years.
    What do we mean by ‘a flexible job’? In this report, ‘flexible job’ means any advertised vacancy that is either part-time or offers home-working, flexible start and finish times, flexible shift patterns, remote working, term-time, or job-share. Additionally, jobs that generically offer ‘flexible working’ or ‘agile working’ are tracked; these tend to be full-time jobs where the employer is open to flexible working patterns by arrangement with the candidate.
  2. Vacancies hit 1.1 million between July and September, the Office for National Statistics said, the highest level since records began in 2001. Source: monthly Labour Market Survey report by the ONS, 14 October 2021
  3. In our 2020 Timewise Flexible Jobs Index we reported that the 2020 ratio of UK jobs being advertised with flexible working options was 22 per cent. This figure has now risen by 4 per centage points to 26 per cent.
  5. A Talent Imperative, a report by Timewise. Timewise commissioned the survey from ComRes, who interviewed 3,001 UK adults online between 13th and 26th June 2017:
  6. According to our latest analysis, the rate of jobs being advertised with flexible working options in the UK stands at 26 per cent. See point 1 for our methodology.

Source: monthly Labour Market Survey report by the ONS, 14 October 2021

[1] ONS data for May-July 2021

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