Flexible working is in demand more than ever. Giving people the option to adjust the hours, location, and amount they work enables them to fit more life around work. It’s been shown to have huge benefits like enhanced employee wellbeing and productivity, whilst also being a key part of many companies diversity programs.
Increase Job Applications with Flexible Working Options
Given the demand for flexible working options, you’d expect lots of employers to offer it but it’s surprisingly rare with only 15% of jobs advertised with flex options. Add this to jobs tending to become flexible over time, as people in the role are granted more flexibility, it’s not surprising the UK Government is focused on increasing the number of jobs advertised offering flexible working options from day one. In a recently published study showing the impact flexibility can have on candidacy rates, the Government Equalities Office worked with Indeed to offer 200,000 positions with enhanced flexibility options from over 57,000 employers. The aim was two-fold, increase the number of jobs offered with flexibility by including flex options on the job creation form and look at the impact it had on application rates. The study included a control group that did not get the additional flex options, this was to show the difference in applications across two groups run at the same time.
The results were incredible, many of the managers that were nudged to include flexible working options in their job descriptions did, in fact 20% more roles had flexible working included compared to the control group. Even better, this resulted in attracting 30% more applicants to the positions that offered flex than the ones that didn’t.
There’s further evidence of this trend with Zurich, a global insurance firm, increasing the number of senior female applicants for positions by 45% by advertising positions as open for part-time, jobs share and full time. This won Zurich substantial press back in 2019 and will likely be seen as a key win for both their diversity and recruitment strategy.
So what flexible working options should you add to job descriptions?
Flexible working options can go by a number of names depending on your org but in general, they will fall into three categories, When, Where and How Much you work.
- When – Flexible Hours are the most readily available and come in a variety of different types. Flexitime is most common with workers being able to choose their own start and finish time around a core set of hours that must be worked, say 10.30 am to 3.30 pm. Other flexible hours types are Compressed, Staggered and Term-Time hours although these are less readily available.
- Where – the ability of employees to work remote some or increasingly all of the time outside of the employer’s primary location. Following the large scale use of remote working across the globe during COVID-19, some employers are focusing on how to improve their Remote Workstyle to attract top talent and access global resources.
- How Much – Part-Time and Job Share allow employees to reduce the total days they work. This is crucial for encouraging working parents to return to work along with others like those who care for elderly parents or are undertaking study. Job Shares are seen as particularly effective as they allow the role to be staffed full-time whilst giving the employee the flexibility they demand.
Specifically adding the options your company supports to job descriptions can have a big impact. Like the Government study above, if you have a request form that managers use to raise job requisitions, add flexible options to increase the likelihood of being added to advertised roles. Additionally, think about some education and comms for hiring managers to become aware of the benefits for them in finding top talent.
So how do you make a job description attract flexible workers?
Simply adding the fact you support flexible working options goes a long way but the best examples demonstrate that flexible working is a current and accepted practice at the employer.
- Explain how the job can work flexibly – be clear on how the flexibility will work; if it's Flexible Hours, how do they work? If it’s Part-Time or Job Share, offer short case studies as an attachment or link that give a flavour of real people in roles with that same type of flexibility
- Show your credentials – given that most jobs become flexible over time, you probably have a number of flexible workers already in the workplace. Explain this to potential candidates by showing you have others in that role working flexibly, e.g. Company A has 4 other project managers working Part-Time.
- Demonstrate company commitment – share your flexible working policy or family-friendly working practices on your public website. If your company has spent the time to have a structured flexible working approach, having that available for candidates to see prior to application is a big positive for your company culture.
At DuoMe we see thousands of candidates looking for flexible working. Having a great job description increases the number of applicants that apply and can help increase the diversity of candidates. Follow these tips to create the best Job Description that supports flexible working.
Graham Joyce is co-founder of DuoMe, a flexible working advocate and a frequent panellist/commentator on the issues of flexibility or hybrid working.