In the aftermath of the pandemic, working from home remains the norm – and now, it looks set to become irreversible. It is now commonly an added benefit to many job roles, and companies who adopt flexible working are reaping the benefits of a broader candidate pool. We are currently seeing a relatively flexible interim market, with some employers open to the idea of allowing candidates for project-based roles to work from home. However, as the world continues to open up, the expectations of working from home vs physically going into the office are muddled for those applying for interim and short-term contract roles.
Flexible working is a renewed way of working that typically suits an individual’s needs; it can indicate flexible start and finish times or the ability to work from home. It is a style of work that remains high on many companies’ agendas. We have recently seen the launch of a nationwide pilot of a four-day working week. Reed has researched over 2,000 UK workers to understand the implications. Reed found that almost half (45%) of the job seekers claimed that “flexible working” is a common phrase that will likely drive them to apply for a job advert. Following this were the terms “four-day working week” (40%), “work from home” (32%), and “opportunity to progress” (31%).
The findings show that, despite the vast majority of workers (89%) being in favour of a four-day working week, flexible working remains the most popular alternative for employers looking to generate job applications.
Another key finding from this research was that only 16% of workers would be willing to accept a pay reduction in exchange for a shorter week. However, almost three-quarters (73%) of respondents would be open to it if there was no pay decrease. These survey findings further prove that working from home is the top consideration for candidates when looking for a new role. Unless it is essential for a specific field, companies will hugely limit their options by providing no dynamic work opportunities.
The current job marketing is highly candidate-led, forcing companies to rethink their strategy when it comes to hiring and attracting the greatest talent. The recent ONS Labour Market Data outlines that the UK employment rate increased by 0.4 percentage points on the quarter, reaching 75.9%. The employment rate is still below pre-coronavirus pandemic levels. However, the number of full-time employees increased to a record high during the last three months. The number of part-time employees also increased during the latest three-month period, showing an upward trend in UK employment rates.
Flexibility is no longer the rarity it used to be. At one point, it allowed your company to stand out from the crowd. Greater flexibility is now a determinative factor in the fight to attract high-quality talent to your organisation.