Hundreds of thousands of new flexible jobs could be created if employers were more transparent about job details, with women likely to benefit the most, according to landmark research by the world’s largest job site Indeed and the Government-backed Behavioural Insights Team (BIT).
BIT analysed more than 780,000 job postings on Indeed.co.uk by 100,000 employers and found that prompting employers to clearly advertise flexible working options led to a 20% increase in the number of jobs advertised as flexible.
Its report concludes that if these ‘nudges’ were adopted on Indeed alone it would add at least 174,000 flexible jobs to the UK economy in a year.
The research – which analysed nearly 20 million job applications and is thought to be the largest of its kind conducted in the UK – also showed that jobs with clear flexible working options could attract up to 30% more applicants than those that did not.
An accompanying study by BIT found that men and women are equally attracted to adverts specifically advertising flexible work but greater transparency of flexible working arrangements would likely disproportionately benefit women, as – pre-pandemic – women were twice as likely to work flexibly*.
Women are also more likely to have lost their job due to Covid-19* and new job postings data from Indeed show occupations that attract more women than men have recorded the heaviest declines in openings since the pandemic: food preparation & service (-83% since 1 February 2020*), beauty & wellness (-82%) and hospitality & tourism (-77%).
Despite the declines, the female employment rate remains historically high (72%) but still lags male employment (78.4%) and while a new wave of flexible roles could drive labour market participation amongst both men and women, the impact of such roles would be felt more strongly by women.
Minister for Women & Equalities, Liz Truss, said: “Making flexible working the norm, rather than something employees have to specially request, will help open up opportunities to people regardless of their sex or location.
“The fact is that for many jobs there has been a closed shop, requiring people to live in high-cost accommodation close to the centre of cities or maintain working arrangements that are very hard to combine with family or other responsibilities.
“We now have the chance to break down that door and boost opportunities for everyone.”