From education to employment

Greater Manchester leaders urge employers to offer flexible work, with 73% failing to offer option

•    Greater Manchester’s Flexible Jobs Index has been published in conjunction with flexible working experts Timewise
•    73 per cent of job adverts in Greater Manchester fail to offer any kind of flexible working options1. 
•    Leaders in Greater Manchester urge employers to increase flexible working options and open up opportunities for more workers following the shift in working post-pandemic.
•    Mayor Andy Burnham says: “The world of work has changed. Having the option of flexible working is better for workers and employers – and will help Greater Manchester attract the talent and skills we need to turbocharge our economy.”

NEARLY three quarters of job vacancies in Greater Manchester make no reference to flexible working possibilities, according to an analysis of more than 175,000 online job vacancies posted in the city-region1.

At present, job vacancies are at their highest level since official records began in 20012 – yet:

  • Just 27% of jobs advertised in Greater Manchester mention any of 17 flexible working terms tracked by Timewise.
  • 11% mention home-working possibilities.
  • 9% offer part-time options.

Greater Manchester leaders are calling for more flexibility in jobs across all sectors to help attract more talent and skills to the city-region and turbocharge the economy into the future. With the shift to more flexible forms of working that has taken place in some sectors during the Covid-19 pandemic, Mayor Andy Burnham and Greater Manchester Economy Lead, Cllr Elise Wilson, are committed to working with employers to help them take advantage of this moment, through the assistance of Greater Manchester’s Good Employment Charter. This will enable the city-region to get a competitive edge through more flexible working opportunities for all, across all forms of flexible working practices and all sectors of the economy. 

While the portion of jobs in Greater Manchester open to flexible working has more than doubled in four years, thanks to initiatives like the Greater Manchester Good Employment Charter, it is clear that more needs to be done to drive up flexible working opportunities. 

The offer of flexibility in the form of working from home, part time working, and flexible shifts can help to attract a much wider pool of talent for jobs.  This new report by flexible working experts Timewise provides insight into the extent to which this is already happening in practice.

Flexible hiring is of huge importance to workers, particularly women, older workers, and those with health conditions and living with disabilities. It provides employees with better working prospects they can actually fit with their lives – and gives employers a tool with which to attract new, inclusive talent.

Timewise found some factors unique to the jobs market in Greater Manchester:

  • The greatest proportion of flexible jobs in Greater Manchester can be found in IT, social services, education, science & R&D, HR, law and marketing.
  • 62.5% of Greater Manchester’s workforce work in foundational frontline services. There is poor access to flexibility in such jobs in the region, as there is across the UK: for example, construction (13%), operations and logistics (15%) manufacturing (7%).
  • To avoid a two-tier workforce in the region, where some kinds of job can offer work-life balance & control of hours, and others cannot, investment in better job design is needed.
  • Homeworking is offered significantly more frequently in jobs offering £60k+ in Greater Manchester (20% in Greater Manchester, 15% in the UK as a whole.)

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: “The world of work has changed.   Having the option of flexible working is better for workers and employers – and will help Greater Manchester attract the talent and skills we need to turbocharge our economy. I believe this report can be the start of a step-change which could see our city-region become a beacon of good, flexible working.  We’re already a destination for ambitious and talented people, but if we start to offer more flexible working across all parts of our economy, we’ll open up opportunities for even more people and reap the rewards for years to come.”

Timewise co-founder Emma Stewart MBE comments: “Simply put, flexible hiring opens more doors to more people. You can reach more deeply into communities and connect with diverse local talent. Furthermore, it only takes a simple shift. Describing your existing hybrid working possibilities in a job ad or thinking through whether a role can work just as well as 4 days as in 5, or as a job share. The more specific you can be on what flexible options you can offer the better placed you’ll be to attract great new talent.”

Greater Manchester Combined Authority portfolio lead for Economy & Business, Cllr Elise Wilson, said: “Greater Manchester is a people-first place. It always has been. It’s why we are so proud of our Good Employment Charter. We are determined to lead the UK when it comes to employment standards. So I urge employers to make the change to your job advert, show your flexible working hours, and demonstrate how you are putting people first too. For employers struggling to offer flexible work, or if you want to know more, come along to the event, with Timewise on Friday 11th March.”

The Greater Manchester Flexible Jobs Index was compiled by the social enterprise and flexible working experts Timewise, commissioned by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and the Inclusive Growth Network (IGN) at the Centre for Progressive Policy, and was funded by the IGN. 

Senior Network Lead for the Inclusive Growth Network, Annabel Smith, said: “While the pandemic has placed more focus on flexible working, it has also amplified inequalities between those with the power to make choices about how they work and those without. Through this work with Timewise and the Inclusive Growth Network (IGN), Greater Manchester is showing national leadership in promoting the benefits of good, flexible working for both workers and employers. By putting this at the heart of their Good Employment Charter, the city region is showcasing what IGN members are doing locally and setting an example to the rest of the UK by making fair employment central to local inclusive growth.”

Timewise has produced an annual snapshot of the UK labour market since 2015, to see if the portion of jobs advertised with flexible options is rising, what kind of jobs are being offered with flex and at what kind of salary level.

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