New Reed survey finds job seekers prefer flexible working to four-day week

Following the launch of a nationwide pilot by 4 Day Week Global to trial a four-day working week, Reed.co.uk, the UK jobs and careers site, canvassed the opinions of over 2,000 UK workers and 250 UK employers and found that flexible working is more popular among jobseekers than a four-day working week.

Almost half of jobseekers named “flexible working” (45%) as a common phrase in a job advert that is likely to make them apply. This was followed by a “four-day working week” (40%), “work from home” (32%), and “opportunity to progress” (31%). Flexible working is a way of working that suits an individual’s needs, such as flexible start and finish times and/or working from home.

The findings show that, despite the vast majority of workers (89%) being in favour of a four-day working week, flexible working remains a more popular alternative for employers looking to generate job applications. Only 16% of workers would be willing to accept a pay reduction in exchange for a shorter week, however, almost three-quarters (73%) of respondents would be open to it if there is no pay decrease.

The research also reveals that over a third (37%) of employers are implementing a four-day working week, and a further quarter of employers (27%) are considering it.

The most common reasons for employers’ support of the four-day working week are focused on employee wellbeing. Among the benefits cited, a “better work-life balance” (51%) is the most common, followed by “increased employee happiness” (43%), “higher employee engagement” (41%), “increased productivity” (36%) and a “reduction of burnout” (36%).

James Reed, Chairman of Reed.co.uk, comments: “Despite strong arguments in favour of a four-day working week, evidenced also by recent UK trials, our research suggests that it may not be the best or most popular way for businesses to attract and retain top talent.

“The National Forum for Health and Wellbeing at Work has suggested that cramming five days’ work into four might contribute to stress. Instead, offering greater flexibility could be more impactful and more popular.

“Amid a highly competitive labour market, it’s encouraging to see so many employers open to exploring new and creative methods to attract candidates. The era of the traditional nine to five, five day working week is over and it’s now more important than ever for employers and employees alike to embrace flexible and inclusive working patterns that will allow everyone to contribute to the workforce.”

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