New findings have shown that flexible working is the only way to ensure Uk growth. Employers need to recognise huge demographic changes in the UK workforce by introducing more opportunities for flexible working, as stated in ‘Reviventing the worplace’ report.

Factors such as the UK’s ageing population, more women in the workplace and a shift from manufacturing to service-based industries have all contributed to rising demand for more flexibility, it said.

“Flexible working will be essential for those companies wanting to attract and retain the best talent,” the report said.

In a Demos survey of 500 employers and 1,500 employees, 91 per cent of employers offered at least one type of flexible working to their employees, almost 60 per cent of employees said they used flexible working, while 83 per cent of requests for flexible working are approved.

However, 81 per cent of employers did not expect their organisation to extend flexible working in the next two years, while out of the firms that do not offer any flexible working, 92 per cent said they were unlikely to start offering it in the next two years.

In an effort to address gender inequality, the report recommends introducing a universal right for all employees to request flexible working. It also recommends that working parents have equal access to a new ‘carer’s account’, based on the Icelandic system of parental leave. This gives nine months of paid parental leave in three instalments of three months. The mother and the father must take one each and then the parents can choose which of them takes the third instalment.

Report author Dan Leighton said: “Flexible working is the only option for Britain to address the social challenges of shared parenting and an ageing population that requires care. It will also be crucial to the success of the Government’s Big Society agenda.

“As it stands, parental leave is expensive for the employee, the employer and the state. A carer’s account would prepare parents and firms for children, allowing them to be better parents and better employees. More support for fathers also means more opportunities for mothers to return to work.”