Offering flexible working options is key to tapping into larger talent pool

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM — Being open to flexible or hybrid forms of working opens the talent pool for businesses, granting them access to a wider range within the labour market, according to Minister for Employment Mims Davies, MP.

It was a position shared by Steve Collinson, HR director of insurance firm Zurich UK, which has been pushing for the government to make it a legal requirement for businesses to offer all vacancies on a flexible, part-time or job-share basis unless there is a specific, business-related reason why they cannot.

Minister Davies said, “Flexible working and hybrid working opens up more employment inclusiveness and progression opportunities to a wider range of talent, and this government is committed to ensuring workers can balance their work-life commitments.”

Collinson added, “As advocates of flexible working for over a decade, we know that people still want to progress their careers whilst managing a whole host of other commitments. Our approach is about removing barriers for those who need flexibility.

“We are urging the government to make businesses like ours advertise all roles as being available on a more flexible basis wherever they can…

“As the labour market tightens, employers need to rethink their approach to attracting and retaining talent. Workers want a new deal and are no longer prepared to work in outdated and rigid patterns.”

Success with flexible working initiative

Zurich has adopted a flexible working initiative since 2019, reporting resounding success from its efforts. According to the insurance firm, job applications have increased by more than two-thirds since the initiative began.

Commenting on Zurich’s initiative, Chair of the Women and Equalities Select Committee Caroline Nokes, MP, said, “Over the course of the last two years, we have seen an increase in people wanting to work more flexibly, and be able to adapt their work patterns around a variety of other responsibilities.

“I am pleased to see this initiative from Zurich, recognising the impact that the way you advertise roles can have on the number and diversity of applicants.

“As we build back from the pandemic, it is going to be crucial to find different ways to make sure as many people as possible are playing as full a part in the workplace as they can, and flexibility will be key to that.”

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