Why did you decide to set up an agency specialising in flexible working?
I have been working in the flexible recruiting space for over five years and in that time the opinion of flexible working has changed disproportionately. Currently, everyone is talking about the benefits of flexible working in terms of health, balance and most importantly productivity. However, there is a very big difference between lip service or having one’s business hand forced by requests for flexible hours post mat/pat leave. There’s also a difference between full on cultural business change to adopting or initially testing flexible working as a business model!
There are a number of clients talking about 4 days weeks in the South East, but currently I haven’t met anyone who has gone for it, however a number of clients are testing core hours as a first step to flexibility.
Is it mainly women (particularly mothers) that make up your candidates?
By the sheer nature of how our social system has worked historically and the fact that nursery and childcare fees are so high it means that many of our candidates are women – though not all mothers. One of the reasons that we launched our new brand is because we wanted to appeal to everyone, as flexible working will, in the future, be available to all – certainly millennials will not work a 50 hour week and we can see that more and more with the advent of the gig economy
Can a successful business NOT offer flexible working today?
Most businesses that I talk to have some form of flexible working policy, not many have a flexible recruiting policy, although that is growing. However, we have a number of clients who are growing their businesses with a flexible workforce and see the beauty of a results driven culture rather than presenteeism. It would appear that not many companies are brave enough to put their hands up and recruit based on a flexible culture yet!
Aside from family commitments what other reasons do people give for wanting to work flexibly?
Studying, caring responsibilities, commuting, mental health, health and well-being, exercise, horses, dogs to mention just a few.
How does your business work?
Our core business is to assist our registered candidates – some 2,500, from a huge range of professions to find flexible work, whether that is on a full time flexible basis – with home or remote working or on a reduced hours part time basis. Each role is different and every client’s need is different, but we haven’t come across many jobs that really can’t be made flexible with a bit of creative thought and determination.
Flexibility Matters’ candidates tend to be:
• Between 35-54 years old
• Predominantly female – though this does seem to be changing since we changed our name
• 91% are the primary carer in their family – elderly parents, children and other caring responsibilities
• Most are wanting to work flexibly to gain a healthier work/life balance and meet their caring responsibilities
• 73% have worked in senior management or management during their careers
• 20% have held director or head of department positions
• 43% would work between 24-40 hours per week with flexibility