A new report on family friendly working shows that more flexible recruitment practices drive tangible benefits for both employer and employee.
Each year Working Families and Bright Horizons produce a comprehensive study into how working parents are faring in the UK. The report surveys more than 3,000 working parents and carers to gain a sense of today’s workplace.
An encouraging finding in the 2020 report was that 55% of working parents feel confident discussing family related issues with their employer. In 2015 this figure was 47%. A similar number of parents feel that their manager cares about their work-life balance.
Furthermore, 51% of parents feel that flexible working is a genuine option for women, with 46% believing it is a genuine option for men.
At the time of the study, 55% were working flexibly – yet in 2015 this figure was 58%. It will be interesting to understand the impact of the pandemic on these figures when the next report is published in 2021.
One of the most fascinating findings in the report is the level of appetite for flexible working. There appears to be a divide between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots,’ where people who aren’t offered flexible working wish they were.
Amongst parents who don’t work flexibly, 77% indicate that they want to. Almost a third report that flexible working is ‘not available’ where they work.
As many employers continue to roll out flexible jobs and opportunities, companies who resist flexible recruitment are likely to find it more difficult to fill their vacancies.
This is particularly notable for senior roles. 71% of senior managers or directors work flexibly compared to 48% of parents in junior positions.
The Modern Families Index found that the wellbeing benefits of family-friendly working are often undermined by poor job design and long hours culture.
60% of parents who work extra hours said it is the only way to deal with their workload, This falls to 47% of parents working part-time. More than half of those who work extra hours (52%) said it is part of their organisation’s culture.
Interestingly, 48% of parents said that being able to work from home probably increased the hours they work.
If employers are truly committed to work-life balance and wellbeing, they must address these issues and revisit their organisational culture to both retain and look after their people.
Childcare is a concern for almost three quarters of parents, and with workplaces increasingly competing for the best talent in the marketplace, flexible recruitment will be a key differentiator.
Not only will flexible jobs attract more applicants, but they mean employers are more likely to retain good employees. They will also gain better productivity, thanks to good work-life balance and wellbeing within the workforce.
At the same time, employees will benefit from a reduced reliance on childcare, more time with their children and a greater ability to manage their workload.
To achieve these benefits employers need to embrace flexible recruitment at every level. This involves reviewing all job descriptions to maximise flexibility. A flexible job could involve remote working, the option to work part-time, flexible hours, or giving applicants some control to choose the elements of flexibility that would mean the most to them.
This process of review should apply not only to the advertisement of all new vacancies, but to established roles within the company that would benefit from flexible options.
To achieve this, many employers now choose to work in flexible recruitment partnerships. The services involved cover a wide range of areas, including outsourcing the whole process to flexible working recruitment agencies.