We believe there is still a gap in the “flexible workplace” conversation. It’s a gap around the benefits – not for employees and women, but for employers.
This month, International Women’s Day was marked with celebrations and awards, as well as countless companies hosting their own internal celebrations and publicly announcing a range of diversity commitments. But, 105 years on for IWD, there still remains a gap. Whereby these commitments from businesses either haven’t gone far enough, are just empty gestures or, most likely, well-intentioned but lacking a commercial foundation to make them a reality.
At JustMums Recruitment, we believe there exists not just a salary gap between men and women, as well as gender divides for career progression and promotion, but also another gap and one not talked about nearly enough – a missing piece in the flexibility conversation and a lack of education around the real and commercial benefits to businesses that employ flexible policies.
In December 2017, JustMums surveyed 500 mums who were either returning to work from parental leave or currently employed and looking for flexible work. Our report Flexible workplaces: a win-win for both employees and employers details the findings from the survey, and also includes the benefits for businesses that are looking to build a flexibility business case can draw from.
There are the more obvious benefits for employers: like saving on the costs of replacing an employee; retaining and engaging people you have invested in; attracting new talent; and accessing rich and diverse teams to offer new ideas. Also, having proven flexible policies is becoming a growing expectation from clients and customers of their supplier network and they will often ask for proof within their tenders; and employing agile and sustainable strategies is becoming a business imperative in tight economic times. A flexible role also means you can afford someone with exceptional experience and skills who can perform at a higher level than a less experienced full-time employee.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, more than half of the survey respondents said they are looking to change employer and are actively looking now – with 45 per cent saying it’s due to their employer not supporting their flexible work request. Australian businesses are facing a huge loss of experienced and loyal employees due to inflexible workplaces – right before the end of financial year. How many businesses have forecasted this blow to their balance sheets and bottom-line? And what is the long-term impact on Australian businesses if this experienced talent pool – with exceptional skills and experience – is overlooked simply due to their requests for flexible work arrangements?
If you would like to discuss our survey results in further detail, or how we can assist you to attract top talent and truly be seen as an employer of choice, please contact us here.