How flexible working can improve gender equality across society…

According to a 2018 report from the Office of National Statistics, between 2001 and 2016, female part-time self-employment almost doubled in the UK, rising from 439,000 to 812,000. 

During the same period, the number of female full-time self-employed workers increased from 433,000 to 732,000.

And in the last quarter of 2018, 31,000 women opted for self-employment.

Increasingly, more and more women are choosing to strike out on their own and work flexibly, rather than continuing to work 9 to 5, in an office.

For most working mothers, it’s obvious that flexibility offers a way of working that fits around juggling family life, like variable start and finish times, the option to work from or closer to home, and part time or job-sharing alternatives. They have greater control over their work life balance.

But what about the rest of society?

Statistics also show it’s not just mums who want more say about how they work.

Over half of working dads say balancing family and work life is hard and while 80% of women would like flexibility in their next role – 52% of men want it too.

Among younger generations, 92% of millennials say flexibility is a top priority when looking for a job because it enables them to spend time on other things like further education, social issues or pursuing other passions.
And most over-50s want to ease slowly into retirement by reducing hours and flexible working.
Yet, while just about every aspect of work has changed in the past decade, one thing remains the same: companies still require that most people work at the office.

Just 10% of UK jobs advertised offer flexibility in the role – leaving a huge gap between supply and demand.

There’s a perception at some companies that part time or flexible working is a ‘privilege’, for people to get away with working less. A culture of presenteeism is still pervasive among older managers who struggle to see working from home as a credible and productive option.

This inflexible and increasingly outdated approach is holding companies back.

Not only are they already failing to retain top female talent (69% of qualified women who stopped working mid-career say they would have stayed had flexible working been an option), but they will also fail to attract male talent in the future as millennial men are increasingly more involved at home, taking on more domestic responsibilities than their predecessors.

They also want flexibility.

Not all flexible work programmes can succeed for all industries, however, but every company can incorporate more flexibility for employees into its operating model, which will help create a happier and more empowered workforce.

In fact, the government’s Equalities Office says widening access to, and successful implementation of, flexible working arrangements is key to retaining women and improving gender equality “across society as a whole”.

In a nutshell, flexible working works.

Afina Partners are here to help you find a flexible career that #worksforyou.

info@afinapartners.com

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