The UK is missing out on up to £170bn worth of economic benefits by not having enough women in employment. So isn’t it time employers took flexible working seriously?

The annual ‘Women in Work’ Index from PWC shows that the UK could boost its GDP by 9% (£170bn) if it could increase the number of women in work to match that of Sweden, the highest performing country.

A very real business opportunity

There are significant opportunities for business to leverage the skills experience of women returning to work through flexible working. Part-time working and job share opportunities can encourage women who would prefer to work fewer hours, committing to a job alongside their family responsibilities, to return to work and increase female employment levels.

It’s a big opportunity. The Office of National Statistics data shows there are over 1.5m women in the UK who want to work more hours than they currently do. A government commission has also highlighted that the opportunity is significant amongst those with professional and managerial skills.

So why should you consider offering flexible work?

There’s a clear business case for employers offering greater flexibility. Reducing working hours of a role cuts the salary requirement by 40% or more – and a lot can be done in 20-25 hours a week by an experienced person.

There’s also an increase in employee satisfaction, retention and business efficiency as flexibility means a closer match of hours and salary to the requirements of a job. You can also improve business effectiveness through supporting seasonal or business peaks and troughs.

Taking flexible working seriously

This certainly isn’t about ‘doing a favour’ to working mothers who want to take on more hours and continue their careers in a rewarding and meaningful way. It’s about harnessing the wealth of experience and skills that parents can offer to an organisation, whilst motivating your current workforce and driving the British economy towards a brighter future.

It’s hard to change the habits of a lifetime, but flexible working doesn’t need to be a scary concept. In fact, the millennial generation expect flexibility as a natural part of their job. They can connect and work from anywhere and are demanding a greater balance between work and play. And this is catching on across the generations. And it’s why our flexible recruitment agency exists.

However, employers’ attitudes about flexibility are hugely important for women returning to the workplace. In our survey last year of 650 women, 80% of respondents felt an employer’s attitude towards flexible work was an important factor in their decision to work for a company.

The future of business is flexible

Here at Ten2Two, the flexible recruitment agency, we’ve introduced flexible working to hundreds of businesses, and many of these have returned to find more talented people time and time again. We provide a full end-to-end service, handling every step of the recruitment process on your behalf.

If you’d like to find out more about how we can help your business today, please get in touch. Your local Ten2Two office will be more than happy to talk through your flexible working options with you. Together, we can work towards putting an end to the UK’s hidden brain drain.

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