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PRESS RELEASE: Top jobs offering flex working treble, but the market falls far short of demand

Top jobs offering flexible working

Flexible working specialists Timewise today release their latest Flexible Jobs Index – the annual analysis of 5 million UK job ads, which reveals what proportion of UK vacancies offer flexible work – and at what levels of pay2.

Fastest growth has been seen in senior-level jobs. Instances of roles offering flexible work have TREBLED in 5 years3 – but the flexible jobs market as a whole remains too weak to meet demand.

Key findings:

  • Flexible jobs make up just 15 per cent of vacancies in the UK4.
  • … yet 87 per cent of UK employees want to work flexibly5.
  • While mentions of flexible work in job ads are increasing year on year; the rate of growth is extremely slow in low paid roles (offering less than £20k FTE) and in middle income roles (£20-34k FTE)6.
  • But there is evidence of change taking hold, re: highly paid jobs (£60k+ FTE) offering ‘flexibility’ have increased three-fold in 5 years3.
  • To challenge the notion that part-time is only for junior roles, nominations for the 8th annual Timewise Power 50 awards open today – an initiative that showcases successful flexible working across different industries and different careers.

Flexible working specialists Timewise today publish the latest Flexible Jobs Index: unique annual analysis of nearly 5 million UK job ads, which finds the proportion that offer flexible working options2.

At just over 15 per cent4, the proportion of flexible vacancies has grown slightly but this falls far short of the extreme demand in the UK with an estimated 87 per cent of employees wanting to work flexibly5.

The problem is particularly acute for workers trying to move from very low paid part-time jobs into middle-earning part-time jobs. More than one fifth of vacancies in the lowest pay band (under £20k FTE) offer flexible working options (23 per cent). But at the next salary band (£20k-£34K FTE), the availability of flexible jobs drops off to just 14 per cent6.

In other words, people get trapped in low paying part-time jobs – precisely because they need that flexibility in their jobs.

However, the Index suggests change is coming. The rate of growth in flexible jobs has actually been fastest amongst higher paid roles. In adverts for jobs paid over £60k FTE, the availability of flexible working has trebled over 5 years, from 5 per cent in 2016 to 15 per cent now3.

Summary of key findings

  • The proportion of roles offering flexible working has risen far too slowly from 9.5 per cent of all UK vacancies, to 15 per cent7.
  • The term ‘part time’ in particular has an image problem. It is associated strongly with lower paid salary bands but is used less as salaries rise8.
  • Notably in jobs offering £60K FTE+, the availability of flexible working has trebled over the last 5 years, from 5 per cent to 15 per cent3.

Quotes

Timewise CEO Emma Stewart, MBE says: “The jobs market is completely out of balance for people who need flexible work. More roles are starting to become available at the top end, but for those in low-to-middle income brackets, the number of available flexible jobs is stagnating. This isn’t what a fair jobs market looks like. We need to inspire cultural change across the market and convince employers that flexible working, and in particular part-time work, can be hugely successful in all kinds of jobs types and industries that you would not expect.”

In a bid to challenge the notion that part-time and flexible only suit junior roles, Timewise today opens nominations for its 8th annual Timewise Power 50 awards, – which celebrate 50 highly successful part-time and flexible workers, as well as businesses that make an exceptional success of flexible working and hiring. Backed by EY, Dixons Carphone, Lloyds Banking Group and Diageo, nominations are open for 6 weeks, until Monday 4 November 2019 and the winners will be revealed to the UK press in early 2020.

Lynn Rattigan, EY’s Chief Operating Officer in the UK & Ireland, comments: “As we live in a 24/7 global culture and we have access to ever more available innovative technology that is evolving rapidly, working flexibility is becoming both an imperative and the norm. As such there is more that firms can do to support and embrace the change. It’s positive to see that there has been a slow but increasing trend in the number of jobs offering flexible options; flexible working is a key differentiator in the war for talent.”

“At EY, we strongly believe that to be competitive in the future, you need to be flexible that’s why we clearly state that our roles are open to flexibility; we recruit over 2,000 experienced candidates each year and every one of those vacancies is open to a flexibility; it’s part of our culture now.”

“The Timewise Power 50 list, launched today, is a fantastic way of promoting the flexibility message far and wide – flexible working has never been more pertinent as a business imperative, be loud and proud about flexible working in your organisation and your role models.”

Paula Coughlan, Chief HR Officer at Dixons Carphone says: “Timewise perform such a valuable role, supporting companies and individuals to realise the benefits of flexible working, and we’re delighted to continue supporting them. At Dixons Carphone we’re giving colleagues the flexibility they need to work around their lives, wherever they work in our business.”

Fiona Cannon OBE, Group Responsible Business, Sustainability and Inclusion Director at Lloyds Banking Group says: “We are proud to be sponsoring the Timewise Power 50 awards for the second consecutive year. At Lloyds Banking Group, we recognise that today’s business environment is changing dramatically, driven by changing consumer expectations, technological advancement, rapid globalisation and new societal values.  New models of work are required to respond to this changing environment.  Building agility into every aspect of how we do business is helping us create a workforce which can adapt quickly to change; with over 45% of our employees now working in an agile way. Isn the last three years, we have also increased the proportion of new roles we advertise with agile working arrangements from less than 10% to over 90%.”

Elke Noels, HR Director GB, J&B, D-Commerce and Europe Reserve at Diageo says: “At Diageo we are hugely proud of our culture and our progressive policies. We are committed to creating an environment where all our employees feel emboldened to do their best work, excel their careers and where work can be a fulfilling part of their lives. Now in its eighth year, we’re delighted to be supporting the Timewise Power 50 awards once again, encourage businesses nationwide to send in their nominations and wish good luck to all!”

For more information please contact Jo Burkill:
t: 0207 633 4553 / m: 07960 472097 / e: jo.burkill@timewise.co.uk


Notes to editors

1  Timewise commissioned ComRes to survey 3,001 UK adults between 13 & 26 June 2017 for ‘Flexible Working: A Talent Imperative’. It found that an estimated 87 per cent of UK employees want to work flexibly. The Flexible Jobs Index released today has found that just 15 per cent of openly advertised jobs in the UK offer any kind of flexibility up front.

2 The Flexible Jobs Index 2019 is based on analysis of nearly 5 million job adverts from over 450 UK job boards in the period January to April 2019. The data source is Gartner and jobs were filtered using 16 keywords relating to different forms of flexible working e.g. ‘part-time’, ‘flexible working’ ‘job share’, ‘home working’ ‘term-time’ etc. The following job types were excluded from the analysis: temporary jobs, self-employed, commission only, freelance. Additional data adjustments have been made to discount job adverts where flexible working is mentioned, but not as an employee benefit.

3 Fastest rate of growth: the greatest percentage increase in the proportion of jobs offering ‘flexible working’, by salary band, has been seen in the two highest salary bands (£60k-79K FTE and £80k+ FTE) – see figures highlighted green below.  

2016 2017 2018 2019
 £14k-£19k 20% 20% 21% 23%
 £20k-£34k 11% 12% 12% 14%
 £35k-£59k 7% 9% 11% 14%
£60k-£79k 5% 7% 10% 15%
£80k+ 5% 7% 9% 16%

4 15.3 per cent of all openly advertised vacancies in the UK offer any kind of flexible working options within the ad itself, according to the latest Flexible Jobs Index.

5 Source: ‘Flexible Working: A Talent Imperative’, Timewise, 2017. An estimated 87 per cent of UK employees want to work flexibly.  Timewise commissioned ComRes to survey 3,001 UK adults between 13 & 26 June 2017.

6 Slowest growth in availability of roles is seen in the two lowest paid salary bands (£14-19k FTE and £20-34k FTE), as shown in this table:

2016 2017 2018 2019
 £14k-£19k 20% 20% 21% 23%
 £20k-£34k 11% 12% 12% 14%
 £35k-£59k 7% 9% 11% 14%
£60k-£79k 5% 7% 10% 15%
£80k+ 5% 7% 9% 16%


7 Proportion of jobs advertised as being open to flexible working:

2015      9.5%

2016    10.6%

2017    11.7%

2018    12.5%

2019    15.3%

8 Proportion of all flexible jobs, by salary. As salary levels increase, the offer of ‘part-time’ options reduce. Conversely looser offers of ‘flexible work’ increase.

                       Part-time jobs           Unspecified forms of flexible working

£14k-£20k              73%                                                  13%
£20k-£34k              57%                                                  21%
£35k-£59k              38%                                                  32%
£60k-£79k              22%                                                  42%
£80k+                      27%                                                  45%  

About Timewise

Timewise (timewise.co.uk) 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 business, that shares market insights on flexible working and flexible hiring, conducts research such as the annual Flexible Jobs Index and runs campaigns and advocates for change on the stigma surrounding part-time and flexible work. It also runs Timewise Jobs (timewisejobs.co.uk ), a national jobs board for roles that are part-time or open to flexibility.

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