Why Employers Should Make Job Ads More Specific

Employers are missing out on hiring some of the best staff – because they are reluctant to offer flexible working arrangements for new roles.

What this means is that potential employees aren’t even seeing the roles because most job searches offer ‘flexible working’ as a key search term.

And, even if the words ‘flexible working’ are in the advert, some employees are being more specific in their search terms, such as a ‘three-day week’ or ‘part-time working from home’. The result is, once again, suitable employees are missing the jobs that may actually suit them.

Emma Stewart, co-founder of flexible working consultancy Timewise insists employers must be explicit about the flexibility their job entails:

She said: “We know nearly half of job seekers click away from roles that say ‘open to flexible working’. They seek out ads which reflect the kind of flexible pattern they are looking for. Just as you search for jobs within a set salary range.”

UK Government rules say employees are entitled to ask for flexible working in their role after 26 weeks in the job. They must write to their employer who then has three months to reply (or longer if the employee agrees). If the request is refused they can then apply for their case to be heard at an employment tribunal.

In September a consultation paper went out proposing employees could ask for flexible working options from day one of a new job. If refused by their employer then there would have to be a good case for doing so. This is due to end next month on December 1st.

Referring to the new proposals in the consultation, Business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng,

“It was once considered a ‘nice to have’, but by making requests on day-one right, we’re making flexible working part of the DNA of businesses across the country.”

“A more engaged and productive workforce, a higher calibre of applicants and better retention rates – the business case for flexible working is compelling.”

An ACAS study this summer, conducted by YouGov, showed that many businesses in the UK fully expected employees to ask for flexible working conditions after the pandemic was over. More than half (55%) said they predicted more staff working from home or remotely for two to three days. Nearly half (49%) said they fully expected staff to work from home or remotely all the time, just popping into the office now and again for meetings etc.

And yet, a survey by Timewise showed that of five million job adverts over the past year, only a quarter offered flexible working options. The results were achieved by checking for key words and phrases such a job-share, part-time, three-day week, remote working etc.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD) describes flexible working @CIPD: “… a type of working arrangement which gives a degree of flexibility on how long, where, when and at what times employees work. There are many forms of flexible working including homeworking, part-time or reduced hours, job shares, flexi-time, compressed or annualised hours, career breaks, staggered start and finish times or self-rostering.”