Karen Mattison MBE, Co-founder of Timewise tells Womanthology why it’s time for the smartest employers to listen to the 8.7 million full time workers in the UK who want flexible working arrangements

Karen Mattison

Multi award-winning entrepreneur Karen Mattison MBE heads Timewise, the organisation that provides flexible working expertise to employers. Timewise runs both a  jobsite specifically for good quality flexible jobs and a content site with insights, case studies and research for business. Noted for challenging people’s attitudes about what kind of jobs can be worked on a part time or flexibly, Karen is searching for case studies of senior and high flying flexible workers for her third annual ‘Power Part Time List’, which will be published in the Financial Times later in the year.

Karen Mattison

Karen Mattison

“We published ‘A flexible future for Britain?’ just ahead of the extension of the ‘right to request’ flexible working rights in the UK, which took effect on Monday 30th June 2014. The report flags that
would-be flexible workers searching for new jobs still face a ‘hidden’ market.”

Flexibility moving from niche to mainstream

The world of work is changing. Flexibility is moving from niche to mainstream. 8.7 million full time workers now want some choice on where and when they work.

Flexible working

Employers are playing their cards too close to their chests…

In today’s post-recession market employers are having to fight harder for talent, and yet when it comes to alternative working structures, they miss a key advantage.

Talented and skilled people are actively searching for workplaces that offer a more modern approach, where quality of performance is rated more than the pattern it took to get there.

Flexible working is a vital tool for attracting, as well as retaining talent

While we have seen a revolution in the world of employment, with flexible hours increasingly being used as a way to retain great talent – too few recruiters have understood how this can be used as an attraction tool, too. 

The best talent are looking for trust

Generational expectations of work are evolving. The best talent aren’t just looking for great pay packages, but a level of trust that will allow them to deliver on terms they know help them to perform best.

Fewer and fewer jobs need to be structured to a specific Monday-Friday 9-5 format. The businesses that recognise this, will be attract the brightest and best talent.

A flexible future for Britain?Would-be flexible workers face a ‘hidden’ market

We published ‘A flexible future for Britain?’ just ahead of the extension of flexible working rights in the UK, which took effect on Monday 30th June 2014 when incoming legislative changes made it easier for existing employees to ask their employers about flexible working possibilities.

The report flags that would-be flexible workers searching for new jobs still face a ‘hidden’ market, because ‘flexibility’ is such a difficult topic for people to raise in the recruitment process, and just 25% of job ads make any mention of it at all.
With so few people staying in one job for life anymore, this is a major issue.

Potential for job flexibility not revealed early enough

Flexible working

We found that while managers may be open to offering flexibility to potential new candidates they do not say so early enough in the process for candidates to know, i.e. at the stage when the job is advertised.

Mostly, managers expect to discuss flexibility at interview stage. They do not realise that many potential skilled candidates would already have already been put off by that point, as they believe the role can only be filled by a full time worker.

Candidates fear damaging chances of getting the job

To exacerbate the problem, a candidate study we conducted last year found that more than half of people looking for flexible work ‘feel nervous’ about mentioning their need for flexibility and don’t know ‘when to ask’, with 42% fearing that doing so ‘damages their chances of getting the job’.

With so few people staying in one job for life any more this is a key issue to tackle, but we are here to help! We are passionate about helping businesses get their recruitment messaging right in order to match the best candidates with the right roles.

The 2014 Power Part Time List: championing part time workers who are gamechangers in their field – call from nominations

On the back of the research, Timewise has launched a call for nominations for Timewise’s third annual ‘Power Part Time List’, supported by EY and six executive partners*. Each year, the List – designed to highlight how work in the UK is changing – champions 50 exceptional individuals who work flexibly, with great success, right at the top of business.

To find out more, or access a nomination form please visit http://timewise.co.uk/power-part-time/, call 0207 633 4553 or email powerparttime@timewise.co.uk.

Making a nomination is free, quick and easy to do. Please help us provide more open role models for people who need flexible work.

*The 6 executive partners are: Egon Zehnder, JCA Group, MWM Consulting, Russell Reynolds Associates, Spencer Stuart and the Zygos Partnership.

 

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