“Nearly nine million UK workers say they want to work flexibly but don’t have the options”¹.
It’s Christmas 2018, and I’m back in the UK after a three year Far East stint in China. With my new baby in tow and my life packed tightly in lots of suitcases. Immediately I was face to face with the harsh realities of trying to find a flexible job. One that allowed me to get my career back on track and be a parent. Prior to arriving back in London, a lingering thought crossed my mind – I’m definitely not the first person ever to be a parent in need of flexible working. Right…?!
Coming back as a fresh job seeker was more difficult than I could have ever expected. I literally had no skin in the game, so to speak. Still, I made the assumption that of all places, London would be at the forefront of the flexi movement. I began my job search, like most, by contacting recruiters – that was a mistake. They were on the whole disinterested, since I wasn’t an easy placement for them, so they tried to make me a square peg for a round hole; sending me full time job specs whilst pressurising me to find more days/dump my child with the nearest childminder. Basically, it was up to me to bend and flex, and not them. It wasn’t long before my call stopped being returned.
It was time for a change of tact (note at this point my desire for flexible working needs haven’t changed). Following advice from friends and ex colleagues, I sieved through my LinkedIn connections quicker than my suitcases were getting unpacked; targeting businesses, friends and connections I had made along the way in my career. People that knew me or knew of me, who may have a role, who might be able to share a connection or even offer some good old professional advice. And you know what? It only went and worked!
Only “6% of UK jobs are advertised as flexible working”², and I am extremely proud to work for a company that is within that 6%. HIGHJAM are bucking the trend; with five out of seven of their senior management team working flexibly, they have the imagination and economic sense to attract and retain the right talent for their business, without needing to tick the generic 40-hour week box. They understand if people’s flexible needs are met, they will put more hours in as a result of that trust and understanding.
Put simply, flexible working is working less hours for less money. It is not a new trend. And it is certainly not ‘slacking off’. For me, it is an opportunity to balance motherhood and a career. And it is refusing to make a choice between wanting a career and being a parent – why is it that in 2019 we can’t have both?
Source: ¹Mother Pukka, ²Flex Appeal