Flexible working can make or break employers

A new study has found that employees regard flexible working as a key influencer when considering job offers – but many feel that their employers are failing to provide it

Flexible working can make or break employers
By Chloe Taylor
Special to MPA

A new study by Robert Walters has revealed that four in ten professionals would reject a job offer if it lacked flexible working opportunities. But despite this, barely a third of employers said they promote flexible working policies when advertising job vacancies.

The survey – which had thousands of responses from professionals and hiring managers – also found that almost 90% of jobseekers are more likely to consider a role that allows for flexible working practices. But according to the research, many employees are either not being offered flexible work, or see the option as a taboo. While a quarter of the professionals surveyed said that their company never promotes flexible work policies, many said they were worried that opting into flexible work would be detrimental to others’ perceptions of their work ethic.

“Organizations have sometimes seen flexible working as an employee perk, overlooking the link between the ‘loyalty gains’ generated and increased productivity levels,” said James Nicholson, managing director of Robert Walters Australia and New Zealand. “This approach also runs counter to a number of increasingly influential societal trends – a rise in the number of mothers returning to full time employment, the rebalancing of childcare responsibilities and an ageing population – all of which have pushed flexible working to the top of the jobseeker agenda.”

The report also found that contrary to common belief, family and childcare responsibilities topped the list of male drivers, while women were more driven by health and wellbeing than any other factor.

“Flexible working is not only beneficial for wellbeing, commitment and efficiency in the workplace, it also lends a competitive edge to your recruitment strategies,” Nicholson advised. “Key to successful implementation is a culture of openness and consensus on measuring outcomes and success, so buy-in from the board level down is essential.”