New research identifies several key demographics who may be excluded from a future job recovery due to the lack of flexible working options available.

Analysis by Timewise, a flexible working consultancy, identifies a significant lack of options for those requiring flexible working options.

According to their data, around four in five job vacancies (78 per cent) are failing to mention flexible working options, despite the impact of COVID-19.

The research states that, as a result, key groups who need access to flexible working options are only facing the choice of applying to full-time, workplace only roles.

Additionally, this highlights a lack of progress has been made when it comes to flexible working. 2019 statistics show that the number job vacancies that offered flexible working options stood at 17 per cent. During the first national lockdown in March of 2020, this rose to just 22 per cent – only a 5 per cent increase on last year’s figures.

This is despite the number of people working from home soaring as a direct consequence of the pandemic. In late March, figures of employees working from home rose from previous statistics of 6 per cent to 43 per cent.

The analysis finds that this lack of accommodation towards groups that may need flexible working options threatens to leave them out of a future job recovery.

It states that low paid groups, the majority of whom are part-time workers, women, carers, older workers and employees who suffer from health problems, could end up more disadvantaged due to the lack of flexible working offered.

Timewise CEO Emma Stewart, MBE said:

The outlook for all jobseekers is stark but for those needing to work flexibly it is even worse. Women, carers, older workers & those with health concerns are currently at the greatest risk of becoming ‘flexcluded’ from work, as new ways of working fail to be reflected in employers’ recruitment advertising.

We are calling on employers to simply adopt the same approach for job seekers as they are currently taking with employees, and to say so in job adverts. Whether offering remote working, or part time hours, or staggered start and finish times. We have a real opportunity as we rebuild the economy to finally create a level playing field for the millions for whom flex is now both a necessity and an expectation.

Neil Carberry, the CEO of the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) said:

Flexible working is vital to an economic recovery which leaves nobody behind. It’s great for businesses too, giving employers potential to build a more engaged and diverse workforce, which is essential for long-term success. As this research shows, building flexibility into jobs plans still has a way to go. That’s exactly what the UK’s professional recruiters are here to help with.

*This research was taken from a Timewise report. The Timewise Flexible Jobs Index 2020 is based on analysis of a total of 6 million job adverts from over 450 UK job boards across 3 periods: 24 Dec 2019 to 23 March 2020 (the 3 months pre-lockdown); 24 March to 3 July 2020 (first UK national lockdown); 4 July to 3 Oct 2020 (the first 3 months of the first lockdown’s easing). The data source is Gartner.





Monica Sharma is an English Literature graduate from the University of Warwick. As Editor for HRreview, her particular interests in HR include issues concerning diversity, employment law and wellbeing in the workplace. Alongside this, she has written for student publications in both England and Canada. Monica has also presented her academic work concerning the relationship between legal systems, sexual harassment and racism at a university conference at the University of Western Ontario, Canada.