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Despite pandemic-induced mass flexible working, of the few jobs being advertised in the UK right now, 4 in 5 offer no flexible working options whatsoever, say flexible working experts Timewise, following unique analysis of more than 6 million job vacancies.
By flexible working, Timewise means anything other than full-time, workplace-only roles.
Increasing unemployment rates makes finding a new job hard for everyone. But flexible workers face an especially stark situation.
78 per cent of jobs being advertised in the UK make no reference to any type of flexible working options, whatsoever2.
Or to look at it another way, the proportion of job vacancies in the UK which DO offer flexible options, rose to just 22 per cent during the first national lockdown. This is an increase of just 5 per centage points from 2019, when the rate was 17 per cent.
Yet the numbers of people working from home rose from 6 per cent to 43 per cent in late March 2020, with levels dropping back to just 37 per cent by June3.
Timewise isolated a small sub-sample of 1,000 job adverts which do offer home-working, and also referenced the pandemic. More than half indicated these roles will revert to the office when possible, suggesting that some of the flexibility on offer to candidates right now is just short term. 4
Timewise warns that a widening gap between working reality and what job vacancies offer means rising inequalities will be compounded.
Low paid workers – the majority of whom work part-time, women, carers, older workers and those managing health problems, are all key groups known to already be disproportionately affected by the pandemic. 5 With so few vacancies being offered with flexible options, in the context of an already ‘decimated’ jobs market – those who need flexible working face being excluded from the race to find new jobs.
Timewise CEO Emma Stewart, MBE says: “The outlook for all jobseekers is stark but for those needing to work flexibly it is even worse. Women, carers, older workers & those with health concerns are currently at the greatest risk of becoming ‘flexcluded’ from work, as new ways of working fail to be reflected in employers’ recruitment advertising. We are calling on employers to simply adopt the same approach for job seekers as they are currently taking with employees, and to say so in job adverts. Whether offering remote working, or part time hours, or staggered start and finish times. We have a real opportunity as we rebuild the economy to finally create a level playing field for the millions for whom flex is now both a necessity and an expectation.”
Timewise’s annual Flexible Jobs Index research is supported by Aviva, EY, Lloyds Banking Group and the Recruitment & Employment Confederation.
Neil Carberry, the CEO of the Recruitment & Employment Confederation says: “Flexible working is vital to an economic recovery which leaves nobody behind. It’s great for businesses too, giving employers potential to build a more engaged and diverse workforce, which is essential for long-term success. As this research shows, building flexibility into jobs plans still has a way to go. That’s exactly what the UK’s professional recruiters are here to help with.”
Danny Harmer, Chief People Officer, Aviva says: “The way many organisations have responded to Covid-19 has bust some of the myths that existed around home working and proved that many types of work can be done from any location. Organisations need to think about what achieves the best outcome for employees, customers and the business. Allowing people to work flexibly in terms of where, how and when they work, and articulating this in job adverts, helps organisations attract a wider range of talent. Flexible working can have a positive effect on wellbeing too, which is good for everyone.”
Lynn Rattigan, the Chief Operating Officer of EY in the UK & Ireland says: ”At EY, our roles are advertised with flexible working possibilities by default. Flex empowers, it does not hold back. We recognise that’s the key to building a diverse, dynamic workforce.”
Fiona Cannon, Group Sustainable Business Director, Lloyds Banking Group says: “At Lloyds Banking Group we have incorporated agile practices our recruitment and now 93% of our jobs offer a flexible option. Not only does this create a fairer playing field, but it opens up new and diverse pools of talent to help us meet the changing needs of our customers.”
For more information, the full report & interviews please contact Jo Burkill:
Published November 2020
1 The Timewise Flexible Jobs Index 2020 is based on analysis of a total of 6 million job adverts from over 450 UK job boards across 3 periods:
24 Dec 2019 to 23 March 2020 (the 3 months pre-lockdown);
24 March to 3 July 2020 (first UK national lockdown);
4 July to 3 Oct 2020 (the first 3 months of the first lockdown’s easing).
The data source is Gartner.
2 The proportion of jobs offering flexible possibilities rose to just 22 per cent during the first national lockdown. This is an increase of just 5 per centage points from the year before, when the rate was 17 per cent. Jobs were filtered using 17 keywords relating to different forms of flexible working. As our aim is to track progress in ‘quality’ permanent jobs, the following job types were excluded from the analysis: temporary jobs, self-employed, freelance, commission only. Additional data adjustments have been made to exclude job adverts where flexible working is mentioned, but not as an employee benefit.
3 Source: Alan Felstead and Darja Reuschke, Homeworking in the UK: Before and During the 2020 Lockdown.
4 Timewise looked at a sample of 1,000 home-working roles in the study, which also specifically referenced the pandemic. Of these 52 per cent stated the post-holder would revert to an office-based role when possible.
Analysis of a sample of home-working job adverts that referenced the pandemic
Home-working is permanent 36%
Intend to revert to office 52%
5 Evidence that women, carers, low paid workers, older workers and those with health problems are disproportionately affected by the pandemic:
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.