Over 200,000 people living in poverty have the skills to do better-paid work but are prevented from improving their families’ living standards because of the lack of flexible jobs, according to a report from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Timewise.
The report adds that well-qualified people working in lower-skilled jobs also make it harder for those with fewer qualifications to get work at all.
The new evidence claims to show for the first time how much could be gained by increasing the availability of part-time jobs and flexible jobs.
The research defines a ‘good-quality job’ as one that pays at least £10.63 an hour – the amount needed to afford what the public defines as a decent, minimum standard of living.
This research finds that 1.9 million people have the skills to do a job that pays this much, but need a flexible or part-time job and can’t find one. Of these, 1.5 million people are in part-time work but working below their skill level and 154,000 are out of work.
Although 96% of businesses offer flexible working to their existing staff, the report says flexible working options are only mentioned in 6.2 per cent of adverts for quality job vacancies.
It says that since research shows nearly half of the UK’s workforce want flexibility in their next job, this creates fierce demand for the flexible, quality jobs that do exist. The research shows that there are 7.4 workless people chasing every quality flexible job, compared to one workless person for every quality full-time job.
The report states that encouraging more employers to introduce flexible working into their hiring practices would offer three wins: more talent and productivity for business, higher living standards for employees and lower welfare costs for government.