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Flexible Working for Men

Over the past few years, we’ve seen flexible working move from, mainly the preserve of the working mum, to a preferred and more productive way of working for so many people, including those with disabilities or caring responsibilities. There has also been a sharp rise in men wanting to work flexibly. We’ve certainly seen an increase of male candidates by 21% over the past year.

At Capability Jane recruitment, although a really important way of working for parents, this isn’t something only working Fathers want – even though more are requesting flexibility to spend time with their children or support more at home – there are now a variety of reasons why men want to work flexibly.

We decided to look into this a bit further and contacted our male candidate base to ask why they wanted more flexibility in their lives. We spoke to two men who want this for very different purposes and reasons. Here’s why.

Ex-City worker turned start-up entrepreneur

Having spent many years carving out a successful career in the City, this entrepreneur decided to take some time out to do an MA and is now focusing on growing his start-up. However, knowing the risks and challenges of developing such a business (statistically, most start-ups fail within the first year), he is looking to work flexibly in order to balance this risk.

He also wants to work flexibly so that he ‘doesn’t close the door to future employment.’

The other reason this entrepreneur is looking for flexibility is because it also frees-up time and gives him the ‘headspace’ to grow his business. As a mental wellbeing start-up, understandably, this space is extremely important.

As for the ‘stigma’ of being a man looking for flexible work, this entrepreneur believes that it is there, but it has improved, even though it’s still not as well recognised. He has come across incidences of being excluded from applying for a job because he wasn’t a mother, but in the main it has been a fairly positive experience.

HR Director looking to slow down the career treadmill

Graham is an HR Director and sees flexible working from two perspectives, his own and that of his employees. Having grown his career and worked long hours to achieve where he is today, he is now looking to preserve some energy by slowing things down a little to elongate his career.

Graham no longer ‘feels the need to impress’ as he is already part of senior management. He also believes that the older you get and the more high-level the role, the more burnt out you feel, so why not work flexibly to work longer? It would also give him a bit more breathing space, time to think and a chance to slow things down a little for an effective work-life balance, which is something we’re seeing more men requesting these days.

As an employer, Graham is a strong advocate of flexible working. He feels it’s a more cost-effective ‘no-brainer’ for organisations. In fact, he cites one particular colleague who works remotely, and outside of office hours, which suits her and works for Graham. His outlook is that as long as the job gets done in the required timeline and to expected quality, it should be up to the individual what hours they work and within reason, from wherever they feel most comfortable.

As a man who is passionate and proud to have many of his employees working flexibly, he agrees there is still a culture and expectation of ‘being seen’ in the office, but it is changing. He also feels, like the entrepreneur, that there is stigma towards men working flexibly.

Graham believes that male pride may have something to do with that as he thinks the ‘hunter-gatherer’ stereotype is still very much alive in the workplace. Just as Mental Health awareness has started to become more accepted, an increase in men being more open to requesting more flexibility will, in due course, also follow suit.

Flex for fathers

A recent study from daddilife.com, in association with Deloitte, reveals that workplaces are struggling to adapt to fathers who want to work flexibly. Out of 2,000 respondents, 63% have requested flexibility since becoming a parent. This request was more prevalent in the £80,000+ income bracket at 84%.

These requests don’t happen as easily as hoped either. 45% of fathers experience tension from their employer when trying to balance work and family life, which increased to 52% for men with babies under a year old. Leaving ‘on time’ was by far the biggest point of tension.

Overall, it’s clear that flexible working is slowly becoming the norm, but there is still a way to go for men who want to work this way. At Capability Jane, we believe in flexibility for all. If you have the skills and the experience, and you want to work part time or flexibly, then we want to hear from you.

We believe there is always a role to suit your needs. Admittedly, ads may not be as quick to appear as they would for a full-time role, but this is changing, and the amount of senior level jobs being advertised is increasing.

So, all you men wanting to work flexibly, keep going and keep sending your CVs. Your requests will help us continue to grow the flexible jobs market.

We still have a way to go for flexibility for all, but we’re certainly heading in the right direction.

Author, Lisa Doherty, Digital Marketing Executive, Capability Jane