UK companies missing out on talent

talenyLynn Rattigan, Chief Operating Officer at EY in the UK & Ireland

Companies across the UK could be missing out on a pool of talent that has the right skills and experiences they are in great need of, simply because they fail to include a simple sentence in their job ads – ‘open to flexibility’.

For multiple reasons, candidates across the UK are looking for roles that allow them a degree of flexibility to fulfil their professional ambitions, at the same time as their personal ones.

Indeed the labour market is demanding it. Younger generations – Millennials or Generation Y, born in the 1980s and 90s – who see work as a means to live, will make up 75% of the global workforce by 2025 and nearly half (45%) would choose flexibility over pay, according to the Centre for Business Economics and Research (Cebr).

Perhaps the commuter who is looking for an earlier start time to avoid congestion, or the competitive cyclist who likes to take advantage of daylight at lunchtime, parents juggling children, carers who are looking after a family member, or even aspiring entrepreneurs who want to work flexibly whilst setting up their own business venture.

According to Timewise’s latest ‘Flexible Jobs Index’, 14.1 million people want flexible working yet only 8.7% of all jobs, with a salary of over £20,000 (FTE), are advertised with flexible options. An indication that flexibility will be considered on a job advert could make all the difference, encouraging that talented and experienced candidate to apply.

Flexibility encourages diversity

By offering flexible working options from the point of hire, you are also likely to see a positive impact on the diversity of your workforce. It opens up access to the workplace for people regardless of their background or circumstances.

At EY we know from first-hand experience that a diverse workforce operating in an inclusive environment, where difference is valued and embraced, makes for a better business performance and happier, more engaged employees. It is a commercial imperative that grants us competitive advantage.

At EY we advertise 100% of our roles as open to flexibility, which helps us to attract the very best talent from all walks of life.

We are also widening our search by creating more routes into the profession. This year we launched an apprenticeship scheme for school leavers looking for alternatives to University and the EY Reconnect programme, which offers professionals who have taken between a two and ten year career break, a 12 week paid placement with the firm.

Stay ahead of the curve

The war for talent is a battle that in some instances can make or break a business. Forward thinking and entrepreneurial companies are acting ahead of the curve by broadening their outlook. They are taking a fresh look at their recruitment systems and challenging their own processes and procedures that perhaps have been in place for some time.

An approach that balances the needs of the business whilst appreciating the needs of the candidates is smart. Backing from the top to achieve this is paramount. But to reap the full benefits of flexible working, cultural change is required to the point it becomes the norm rather than the exception.

EY is backing Timewise’s ‘Hire Me My Way’ campaign to help shift the mind-sets and behaviours of employers and employees across the UK, to drive change in the recruitment market and modernise the workplace.

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