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Employers not embracing flexible working

Flexible working was found to be the top benefit that people look for when considering a new role

There is a significant disconnect between the number of people wanting to work flexibly and the number of employers embracing it, according to My Family Care and global recruiters Hydrogen.

The survey of 1,587 UK employees and 310 UK employers found that while over half (54%) of the UK’s working population want the opportunity to work remotely or from home, just a third (34%) were encouraged to.

Flexible working was found to be the top benefit people look for when considering a new role, with 81% looking for this. This ranked above other benefits, including an enhanced pension scheme (35%), private healthcare insurance (28%) or commission (28%).

Over half (53%) of employees said they would choose flexible working over a 5% salary increase. Of those who would sacrifice a pay rise in for a benefit, 45% would choose flexible working over a 10% salary increase.

However, the survey reflected an enduring stigma surrounding flexible working. It also found more women (26%) than men (18%) worry that working flexibly would impact on their career.

Ben Black, director of My Family Care, described flexible working as “the future”. “With the rising number of working mothers in the UK, the increase in pension age, a rapidly ageing population – and the emergence of the so-called ‘sandwich generation’ where individuals are called upon to care for both their children and elderly relatives – businesses need to see the value in offering flexible working to attract and retain top quality staff,” he said.

“The ‘bums on seats’ culture is on the way out. Flexible working is the future; it should not even be seen as a ‘benefit’ but simply the best way of getting things done: it helps individuals create a happy and healthy work-life balance that is essential to get the very best out of an individual.”