Employers who fail to offer flexible working hours are neglecting 46% of the UK workforce, according to research by Timewise.

The Timewise Flexible Jobs Index found that just 6% of job vacancies offer flexible working options, despite 14.1 million UK workers wanting to work in such a manner.

The study also highlighted that the higher the salary is, the less opportunities there are to work reduced hours or shift work.

Understanding the importance of flexibility

The index found that out of 3.5 million job adverts, only 6.2% of roles with a salary of £20,000 or above offered a degree of flexibility in working hours.

Karen Mattison, CEO of Timewise and co-author of the research, said that businesses are missing out on talented graduates by failing to understand how important flexibility is for younger job seekers.

“This often results in the best talent having to trade down and take jobs way beneath their level of skill and ability,” she said.

The study also found that a jobseeker looking for flexible work that pays below £30,000 a year will find twice as many job opportunities compared to someone looking for a role paying above £40,000.

Lynn Rattigan, the Chief Operating Officer at EY, UK and Ireland, who also supported the research, said that a growing pool of talent is on the lookout for highly flexible roles that ensure a good work-life balance.

Funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, the research also ranked job roles and UK regions according to how many flexible positions were advertised across a total of 122 job boards between July and December in 2014.

By region, the research highlighted that candidates looking for flexible working hours have greater opportunities in Scotland, Northern Ireland and northern England, while London was the location where the least amount of flexible job opportunities were found.

The research also looked into what sectors offer the most flexible hours and found:

  • Health – 20%
  • Education – 13%
  • Engineering – 2%
  • Creative – 2%
  • Manufacturing – 2%

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