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Leading UK employers call for flexible recruitment by default

By Fiona Frudd
Leading UK employers call for flexible recruitment by default

The pandemic has ushered in a new era of work, with one thing very clear: the future is flexible. As leading employers, we stand together to embrace this evolution.

Because we understand the far-reaching benefits of flexible working, each one of us has committed to advertising all of our vacant roles with flexible options by default. Not only is this change necessary; we believe it’s vital to creating a more inclusive, robust workforce.

The Timewise Flexible Jobs Index 2021 found that only a quarter of jobs adverts offer flexibility. That means that three-quarters of job adverts are effectively locking out a valuable pool of talent: those who require flexibility to be able to work. This especially impacts people with caring responsibilities. Research by charity Working Families shows that 82% of UK parents are likely to apply for jobs that advertise some form of flexibility, compared to only 31% who would apply for jobs that don’t. And over half of UK parents would consider leaving their current job if they found another with more flexibility.

Flexible working is no longer just a ‘nice-to-have’. It’s good for people and good for business—boosting productivity, employee engagement, and staff retention. Advertising roles with flexible options isn’t just a perk we offer to our candidates; it’s a vital part of our recruitment strategy.
Recruiting flexibly isn’t just for jobs that can be done remotely. With almost half of UK parents working in roles that are tied to a location and cannot be done from home, the flex of the future goes beyond hybrid and home working. As employers of all sizes from a diverse range of sectors, we are living proof that—with a willingness to find solutions—flexibility can work in all jobs and all industries, not just desk-based roles.

Beyond the many benefits to our business and our culture, we are also championing flexible working because, for many, it’s a direct path to employment. With the current cost-of-living crisis putting so many families into financial jeopardy, offering flexible roles at the point of recruitment opens opportunities to those who have caring responsibilities but who desperately need additional income.

This National Work Life Week, we’re proud to use our collective voice to encourage other employers to follow our lead and recruit flexibly by default. We believe recruiting in this way gives us access to high-quality, diverse talent; fosters a committed and engaged workforce; and paves the way for a more equitable society that provides opportunities for all.


Bussinesses that have signed the joint letter with us:

Kevin Thomas, Executive Director for, Corporate Services Audit Wales
Janet Scotcher, Chief People Officer, Cambridge University Press & Assessment
Karen Hutcheson, Head of Talent Acquisition, Colleague Mobility & Early Careers Centrica
Angela Tangas, CEO dentsu, UK&I
Rachel Duncan, HR Director UK, Experian
Caroline Rainbird, Chief Executive Officer, and David Blackburn, Chief People Officer Financial Services Compensation Scheme
Charles Weatherhogg, 
Human Resources Director, Genome Research Limited
Perry Burton, 
Head of People and Culture, Strategic Leadership Team, Grant Thornton UK LLP
Carolyn Morgan, 
Director of Human Resources, Hill Dickinson LLP
Harvey Tilley, 
Chief Operating Officer, Independent Living Fund Scotland
Lyn Garner, 
Chief Executive, London Legacy Development Corporation
Joanna Browning, 
Managing Director – People Experience, MINT Markel International Services Limited
Vanessa Dewhurst, 
Chief People Officer, Mishcon de Reya LLP
Jen Ross Regional, 
HR Manager – UK and Europe, Mott MacDonald
Simon Hart, 
Executive Director of People & Culture, NELFT
Andrew Masraf, 
Senior Partner, Pinsent Masons LLP
Mary FitzPatrick, 
Global Head of Inclusion and Diversity, Rolls-Royce plc
Saira Demmer,
CEO, SF Recruitment
Ed Feltham, 
Director of Talent Acquisition, UK&I Slalom
Russell Hobby, 
Chief Executive, Teach First
Sarah Collins,
Commercial Director and D&I Champion for the Parents, Carers, and Flexible Workers Network, UK Health Security Agency

Fiona Frudd
Fiona Frudd
Head of Marketing