A study conducted by Zurich, the multi-line insurer, has revealed that applicants from women for senior roles rise by as much as a fifth when they are advertised as flexible.
Between March 2019 and February 2020, the firm posted four out of five vacancies with the option of part-time, full-time, job share, or flexible working, creating a 20% jump in female applicants for management roles.
Also part of the study was the use of gender-neutral language in every job advert. When coupled with flexible working options, this caused a 16% increase in women applying for jobs at the company.
This led to a third more women being employed by Zurich than before, a result that “proves positive” in the fight to “tackle diversity and inclusion issues”.
Steve Collinson, head of HR at Zurich, said: “By offering roles that fit flexibly around family life, employers could open the floodgates to a much wider pool of untapped talent.
“This will also help women progress into higher paid jobs whilst fitting other commitments around their careers. Workers want a new deal and there’s a danger that businesses that don’t get on board, won’t be able to compete for the best and brightest minds.”
The study was conducted with a government-backed behavioral insights team. The Equality Hub and other government departments are hoping to take into account the benefits of flexible working that were “emphasised” during the pandemic.
Baroness Berridge, the Minister for Women, said: “Zurich’s work in this space has proven how effective a simple change to a job advert can be for workplace equality.
“It is vital that more employers take this on board as we seek to increase opportunities for everyone in this country.”