Flexible working? Businesses miss out on best workers without it

Lynsey Barber
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Businesses are missing out on hiring some of the best candidates by not hiring with flexible working in mind.

Around 1.5m workers are currently under-employed in part-time jobs, settling for roles they are over qualified for because they offer flexible working patterns.

The new findings in a report from recruitment site Timewise and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) indicate the skills of many part-time workers are being left untapped.

"By restricting opportunities to work flexibly at the point of hire, employers are cutting themselves off from a proportion of the candidate market," the report concludes. "Particularly for fields of work that are known to have skills shortage problems (for example, information technology and engineering), there are clear benefits in accessing the wider talent pool that is available to work flexibly."

Just 6.2 per cent of job adverts mention flexible working, while the majority of those that are flexible are low-skilled jobs in areas such as the retail and services industry. These jobs are also low-paid.

"Encouraging more employers to introduce flexible working into their hiring practices would offer three wins: more talent and productivity for business, higher living standards for employees and lower welfare costs for government," said JRF head of analysis Helen Barnard.

"This is an area where employers can take a strong lead – delivering for their own business as well as for wider society," she added.

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