Will flexible working become the norm for men?

Recruiters are often told they are the first link in the chain when it comes to promoting diversity, gender equality and flexible working. Peter Crush, an HR business journalist talks to Attune’s Head of Operations, Sarah Broad, on championing flexibility and diversity in the workplace.

We know flexible working is more commonplace for women and they still quite often take up the majority of caring commitments. But this is changing. “We noticed 37% of our flexible working job seekers were men, so we’ve decided it’s part of our role to champion flexible working for men as well as women in organisations that traditionally haven’t progressed very far on this issue,” says Sarah Broad, Attune’s Head of Operations.

Around 10% of single parents are actually fathers, so Broad says the issue is bigger than many organisations think. “Some law firms have done well in making flexibility a female issue, but less so that it is a man’s issue too,” she says. “Men are having to pick up the slack when it comes to childcare too, and more men are reducing their hours or wanting to work flexibly to balance their work and family lives. Knowing they have an employer that will support them is hugely important to them. We are now acting as the conduit between men in the legal profession who want flexibility and firms who may not be used to it, to champion its benefit to them.”

In fact, 2017 Modern Families Index research states family is the highest priority for fathers. A quarter of fathers that took part in the study drop their children at school or nursery every day; with just over a quarter (26%) collecting them more than half the time.

According to Broad, some firms have no problem with promoting flexible working, but others are ‘quite slow’. “Employers tend to be good at offering flexibility internally, but less to external new hires,” she says. “The point we try to make to employers is that people are demanding flexible working nowadays and many are coming into law from outside the legal profession – there are marketers, PR execs, finance directors, and they simply expect it. If we can do our bit to make flexibility normal in this sector, then it’s good for everyone involved.”

Read our blog on Rob Morgan who discussed working flexibly at recruitment and how he manages his flexible working team https://www.attunejobs.com/qa-manage-flexible-working-team-manager-simmons-simmons/

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