More flexible working will be demanded by women

More women want a job which fits into looking after their families and are making a 'massive call for change' in working practices, a source predicts.

More women want a job which fits into looking after their families and are making a ‘massive call for change’ in working practices, a source predicts.

More women want a job which fits into looking after their families and are making a ‘massive call for change’ in working practices, a source predicts.

A recent survey published by Psychologies magazine, entitled the New Luxuries Female Lifestyle Study, found 65 per cent of women want a job that fits their life, while 60 per cent would like more time to spend with family and friends.

Maureen Rice, editor of the publication, states this shift in priorities may alter the workplace, as people look to move away from ‘having it all’ and towards ‘having a bit of everything’.

Derek Draper, psychotherapist and contributor to the magazine, adds many women want to work ‘but the issue is whether we have to work the incredibly long hours that we do’.

Rice says the power of women to alter the work-life balance should not be underestimated, as they have heralded similar changes in the past.

She adds 75 to 80 per cent of women now work, which is ‘not going to change’, but the working world is designed for men to earn and for women to stay at home. Rice states females employees think ‘it’s a crazy way to live’.

Draper adds he believes women will lead the way in this working reformation, saying: ‘Men have dominated the workplace for decades if not centuries and there’s been no change’.

See also: A mumpreneur’s account of flexible working and its benefits – Nicola Bird, founder of, explains how she juggles her business and being a mum.

Employers missing out on talent

Employers are missing out on a huge pool of talent by failing to offer flexible working, according to a new survey by

The survey of over 600 mothers reveals that while the majority put flexibility as their top priority when searching for jobs, an astounding 90 per cent felt it was difficult to find.

It showed that mothers are still hungry for work after having a baby but feel that there is a distinct lack of opportunities to utilise the impressive range of skills and experience they have to offer.

Over two-thirds of those not working said they didn’t see why they should settle for jobs that did not meet their level of expertise in order to get the flexibility they wanted.

It appears that some employers are realising the potential that others are missing out on. Alex Cheatle, managing director of lifestyle management company Ten UK, says he has built his business around flexible workers, many of whom are working mothers based across the UK.

‘For us time management is critical as is the ability to multi-task,’ he says, ‘Mums are great at managing time as they are used to keeping immovable deadlines and doing many things at once.’

Flexible working ‘gives access to the best people’

Permitting people to work from home enables employers to ‘reach out and get the best people’, an employment expert explains.

According to Caroline Waters, director of employment policy for BT, many managers refuse to allow their staff to work outside the office because ‘they think it gives them control’.

However, Waters argues that flexibility and being an environmentally-friendly business are two factors which appeal to potential high-calibre job candidates.

She comments: ‘We want them to commute and they want to work from home – just in this country alone, 1.1 billion hours are spent just in getting to work.

‘Does that sound like an economy for the 21st century? I don’t think so.’

As such, she believes that a change in mindset among employers is essential.

Research by the AA and Work Wise UK have found that the average commuter spends nearly 29 days a year travelling to work – more than five years over a working lifetime.

Flexible working biggest perk

Forget flashy company cars and a key to the executive toilet, it seems staff see flexible working as the most valuable benefit at work.

Some 47 per cent of respondents to a survey from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) say flexible working arrangements are the most important benefit offered by employers. Performance related bonuses came second at 19 per cent.

Michael Rendell, head of human resource services at PwC, says: ‘Two years of recession have changed people’s attitude towards work. With companies mindful of taking on new employees, existing staff have been expected to do more with less. Our survey indicates that employees may be feeling the pressure, with large numbers hoping for a better work-life balance in the future.’

Of the 1,167 people surveyed, 15 per cent of respondents say a good company pension plan is the best perk an employer can offer.

Some 50 per cent say they would like to work for themselves in the future, while 30 per cent wish to find a company whose values match their own.

See also: Is flexible working more valuable to employees than a pay rise? – New research from HSBC highlights flexible and remote working practices are more likely to motivate staff and increase workplace productivity than financial incentives.

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel was the editor of from 2010 to 2018. He specialises in writing for start-up and scale-up companies in the areas of finance, marketing and HR.

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