With 46 per cent of the UK’s working population wanting to work flexibly, Timewise suggested that it led to employees competing over a “handful of vacancies”.
The findings coincide with a report from Manpower Group, which warned of a “critical shortfall” of qualified workers. It suggested the north of England was most vulnerable, undermining George Osborne’s ambitions to create a Northern Powerhouse.
Hiring optimism in both North West England and North East England was above the national average, the report suggested, but a skills shortage has meant northern employers could not fill vacant roles.
James Hick, the managing director at Manpower Group Solutions, said: “While many employers in the south can rely on a steady supply of workers, there are far fewer qualified candidates in the north. With a shortage of skilled trades, IT and engineering skills and employers looking to increase hiring in the coming quarter, skills shortages threaten to hamper business’ growth plans.
“George Osborne may dream of a Northern Powerhouse, but the reality will be a northern power cut if we don’t see more talent coming into the market.”
The Timewise research, funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, said employers were failing to capitalise on changes to the way people work to get the skilled workers they need.
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A lack of transparency around flexible working has locked British people out of the chance to progress their careers and salaries, Timewise said. The company hinted that it was a particular issue when it came to women.
Based on location, flexible job opportunities were best found in Scotland, Northern Ireland and the North of England. London was the worst place to find flexible work.
The analysis found the proportion of jobs advertised with flexible working options varied greatly by sector. Those working in health and education have the greatest chance of jobs being advertised with flexible working options, while roles in engineering, manufacturing and the creative industries ranked the lowest.
Furthermore, flexibility declined at higher salary levels.
“Whilst there is a significant proportion of flexible roles advertised below £20,000, a candidate looking for flexible work below £30,000 will find around twice the job opportunities (as a proportion of all jobs at that level), compared to a candidate looking for work at over £40,000,” the report said.
Timewise founders Karen Mattison and Emma Stewart MBE suggested that technology advances and recent legislations have facilitated growth in flexible working, yet this has not been reflected in hiring practices.
Businesses are missing out, as they consistently fail to realise just how important flexibility is to people looking for a new role, Stewart said.
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