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Timewise’s fourth report for the Scottish Government finds there has been negligible increase in the proportion of jobs advertised with options to work flexibly. More than 7 in 10 jobs are still off limits for flexible workers.
Flexible hiring – advertising job vacancies as flexible from day one – is a key building block for fair access to work. It is a lifeline for people who need to work flexibly; a tool for employers to attract more talent; and at a societal level, it can help tackle inequality.
Yet the latest Scottish Flexible Jobs Index finds that only 28% of advertised vacancies offer flexible working, barely any higher than the previous year (27%). This rate lags far behind both demand for flexibility and workplace practice – 8 in 10 Scottish people want to work flexibly, with 6 in 10 already doing so.
There are also several underlying concerns. Home-working (including hybrid) is the only form of flexibility that is increasing, while part-time arrangements (highly sought by people with caring commitments) show no growth at all. And potential inequalities between workers are exacerbated by wide discrepancies in access to flex at different salary levels, by occupation and by region.
Employers need to change their approach as a matter of urgency, especially in light of forthcoming legislation on the ‘day one right to request flexible working’. Our report contains recommendations for employers and policy makers on how best to adapt.