23 May 2016 | By Lynn Rattigan Community

Hire me my way

A new national initiative is encouraging UK employers to change their hiring practices and unlock quality jobs to flexible working

The UK needs a skilled workforce to ensure we have a competitive economy – and attracting and retaining the right talent is one of the most common challenges UK businesses cite as hindering their growth plans. Yet according to Timewise’s latest “Flexible Jobs Index”, only 8.7 per cent of jobs in the UK – with salaries of £20,000 per year or more (full-time equivalent) – are advertised as “open to flexibility”, drastically reducing the available talent pool UK employers are drawing from.

Of the 1,574 people surveyed, 79 per cent of those looking for part-time work or flexible roles felt locked out of the jobs market, emphasising the need for change in hiring practices across the UK.

EY is backing the national initiative, “Hire Me My Way” led by Timewise, along with 19 other leading employers and 20 organisations, including the CBI, to help shift the mindsets and behaviours of employers across the UK and unlock quality jobs to flexible working.

A new website,, will profile a range of employers that are open to conversations about flexibility from day one and will offer career advice for job seekers whether they are looking for a flexible job or seeking internal promotion while working part-time or flexibly.

Cultural change

The world of work is changing, driven by the demands of modern day life and the next generation entering the workforce. Employers need to keep up. Millennials or Generation Y – those born in the 1980s and 90s – who see work as a means to live, will make up 75 per cent of the global workforce by 2025.  Nearly half (45 per cent) say they would choose flexibility over pay, according to the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr).

At EY 100 per cent of our jobs are advertised as “open to flexibility” and our people are encouraged at every level of the organisation, from the point of hire, to decide how, when and where they work. In addition, we aim to open up the profession to all, by creating routes into EY to suit the individual. For example, we recently launched EY Reconnect – a 12 week return to work programme for those who have been out of the jobs market for between two and ten years.

A progressive approach to how we hire our people and retain them is a commercial imperative. We need the best and brightest people to fuel our growth in the UK and the global ambitions of our clients.

More than five years ago we rolled out a change programme to embed flexible working into our organisation. But it takes real cultural change at the heart of a business to realise the real benefits. As a business that is championing flexible hiring and working in the UK, we believe we are in better shape for the future.

My hope for the future is that the recruitment market will reach a point where it is the interviewer rather than interviewee asking how much flexibility there is with any role – this is a two way process with benefits to be had by employers and employees.