Flexible working key to British people’s happiness, but many afraid to ask their employer about it

flexible working

When it comes to finding out about workplace benefits during a job interview, British people are most uncomfortable asking about flexible working options.

This is despite flexible working topping the chart in terms of which factors (other than salary) are most important to their workplace happiness.

The research found that 13 per cent of employees were uncomfortable asking about holiday entitlement and career break opportunities or sabbaticals.

In general, younger generations are the most uncomfortable asking for things, with just 7 per cent of Gen Z (the youngest generation in the workforce at the moment) comfortable asking about any type of benefits during the interview process. In comparison, 42 per cent of Baby Boomers said they are happy to ask about the benefits they will receive as part of a role.

Nikki Coleman, Operations Director, Badenoch & Clark, who commissioned the research, commented:  “In order to remain competitive in the UK’s current skills gap environment, which could be compounded further by Brexit, organisations need to pull out all the stops.

“It’s no surprise that flexible working is important to many employees and a lot of organisations now have agile working policies in place. But clearly there is more that can be done to not just make jobseekers feel comfortable asking about this, but actively promote their approach to flexible working as part of the recruitment process. Those businesses who make sure that flexible working does not become an ‘off-limit benefit’ will have a competitive advantage in the war for talent.”

While flexible working is the most popular benefit across the board, the youngest generation – Gen Z – is more interested in career progression opportunities than agile working. After flexible working, 30 per cent of employees prioritised benefits such as gym memberships, and private healthcare when choosing a job.