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1 in 4 UK job adverts offer flexible working options according to new research

19th November 2021

Flexible working is now sought by the majority of the UK’s labour force, and industries that require staff permanently on site, such as the hospitality sector, could now be struggling to recruit new staff in a post-pandemic world because of it.

However, according to a new study conducted by Timewise, a company which advises businesses on how they can implement flexible working solutions, only 1 in 4 job adverts currently advertised in the UK offer some form of flexible working.

Sir Cary Cooper, Organisational Psychologist at the University of Manchester’s Alliance Business School offers an explanation as to why employers might be reluctant to mention flexible working options in these job adverts.

He argues that it could be because “they [employers] fear potential employees will think that … [this gives them] the automatic right to work remotely 24/7.”

Though he also confirms that positions offering 100% remote working patterns are not what the majority of UK workers want, stating that “most people are tired of working in this way” after months of working from home throughout the pandemic.

“What they’re looking for is a mix of being in the office and at home, so they can interact with other colleagues but also have the freedom to take time at home if they need it to juggle other life demands”.

Janine Bosak, professor of Organisational Psychology at Dublin City University Business School, offers some other possible explanations as to why flexible working options are not mentioned in more UK job adverts in a post-pandemic climate.

For her, it is all about employers wanting to manage expectations. She suggests that if there is mention of the term “flexible working” in a job advert, job seekers might perceive this as a “right to flexible working” from day one and “it might not always be possible [for employers] to accommodate [this]”.

She gives the example of a scenario where a new employee starts at a company and the employer might prefer, at least in the beginning, for them to be physically present in order to teach the key elements of the job in person.

Similarly, the employee may able to get a better understanding of the company culture and structure, or form better relationships with those colleagues they will be working closely with.

Despite only 1 in 4 job adverts in the UK mentioning flexible working options, it would appear that hybrid working is set to be the new norm for the majority of UK employees in the future.

According to recent research conducted by social media platform Linkedin, 86% of UK businesses plan to offer their employees more flexibility around where they work going forward, regardless of whether they state this on job advertisements or not.

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