Emma Stewart

Emma Stewart from Timewise reveals that, despite robust evidence of the business benefits of flexibility, 3 in 4 job ads in Scotland still don’t offer flexible working options.


Despite pandemic-induced mass flexible working, three in four job adverts in Scotland still offer no flexible working options.

Analysis of more than 375K job vacancies for our Timewise Flexible Jobs Index found the proportion of roles offering flexibility has increased. But only slightly - from 19% pre-pandemic to 24% late last year.

Pre-pandemic, seven in ten Scottish working adults already had a flexible job, or wanted one. And then Covid radically changed working patterns further. More than 60% of Scottish employees worked from home at least some of the time during the pandemic, and many workers flexed their hours around home responsibilities too. So it's disappointing, to say the least, that recruitment hasn't kept pace with such dramatic workplace change.

Emma Stewart

From an employer's perspective, there is already robust evidence of the business benefits of flexibility, such as increased employee loyalty, engagement and productivity as well as reduced sickness absence, while including flexibility during recruitment allows firms to appeal to a much larger and more diverse pool of potential employees.

Zurich Insurance started advertising all vacancies as a 'part-time, job-share or full-time working opportunity' in April 2019. Women applicants for senior management roles increased by 45 per cent in the first three months.

For workers, finding a new job is hard for everyone in the current climate, with increasing unemployment rates coupled with fewer jobs due to the economic downturn. But our concern is that the people who need flexibility the most, who tend to be women, carers, older workers and those managing health conditions, face an especially stark situation in Scotland.

With so few vacancies being offered with flexible options, those who need flexible working face being left behind in the race to find new jobs.

These key groups have already been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, and without flexible jobs, it will be even harder for them to get back on the jobs ladder, or move up. Instead of reducing inequality, we could be increasing it.

We're asking employers to show they are open to flexible working from job adverts onwards. This isn't losing control, or a free-for-all. Flexibility has to work for both sides. But if you are open to honest conversations, you'll find talented, hard-working people to drive your business forward, often with practical flexible solutions you'd never have thought of yourself.

You can read our full report or find out more information at timewise.co.uk

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