A new survey shows that demand for flexible working is highest for younger people, that the majority of men and women consider it important and that more parents are planning to take Shared Parental Leave.
The number of eligible parents taking Shared Parental Leave is just 7%, but a new report shows that up to 38% are planning to do so for future children, according to a new survey.
The report, Shifting attitudes to flexible working and childcare for working parents, by law firm Winckworth Sherwood is based on a survey of 1,000 employees and 500 HR leaders.
It found that 17% of employees said that they planned to take shared parental leave for future children. However, since 55% of those surveyed said that they did not plan to have any children in the future, the report says the real figure is actually 38%.
The report focuses heavily on flexible working. It found almost 60% of HR decision makers said that flexible working arrangements had been highly successful within their business and nearly three quarters of employees and employers polled said it was important to attract and retain the best talent.
The majority of employees regardless of age said that flexible working was important to them for remaining in their role or choosing a new role, with the statistics being higher amongst the younger generations with 74% of under 35s and 77% of employees aged 35-44 saying it was important. However, flexible working was also an important consideration for employees aged 45-54 and over 55 [67% said so].
The majority of men said that flexible working was important to them remaining in their role (66%) or choosing a new role (64%). This compares to 77% of women.
Employers were taking a lot of different approaches to flexible working, with some implementing formal changes across the organisation, for example, offering flexitime to all employees where they can choose the
hours they work around set core hours. Others had a more informal flexible working approach, for example, encouraging working from home, but leaving arrangements to be agreed between employees and their managers. It was clear that employers are becoming more open to allowing people to fit their work round
their life (and childcare responsibilities), rather than life fitting around work.
A lack of trust was one of the main concerns which employers cited about offering flexible working to all – 23% cited this. The report says the key to overcoming this is good communication between employers
and managers and measuring performance based on output, rather than hours spent at a desk.