Are young professionals being excluded from flexible working?

Working from home

Flexible hours and working from home are desirable perks for millennials

Following recent reports which show the UK falling behind in the global drive for flexible working, new research from global recruitment specialist Michael Page has revealed that 84% of office based millennial employees do not work from home in an average working week, with 82% of those saying they are not able or allowed to. The findings come despite 76% of UK office workers confirming that their employer does offer flexible working options.

Research conducted among over 1,000 UK office workers questioned the reality of flexible working across the UK today, especially for young professionals or ‘millennial’ workers, aged 18-27. The results suggest that for this group of employees, flexible working remains largely out of reach.

60% who have worked flexibly have felt judged or penalised for doing so and of those, 47% have felt judged by company management or senior leadership. 20% of respondents have been actively refused flexible working options by an employer, despite asking.

Such instances are adding to growing sentiment among younger workers that flexible working is less a right, as outlined by the Government in 2014, and more a ‘selective benefit’ for a choice group of employees.

67% of millennials believe employees with families are more encouraged to work flexibly than their single colleagues, and 61% say the same applies to senior co-workers, suggesting that junior team members more often discouraged from flexible working initiatives. 43% say it is a benefit reserved for management and senior leadership only.

Oliver Watson, executive board director for UK and North America at PageGroup, said: “There is a clear and increasing demand for flexible working options among UK employees, especially from the newest generation of workers. Placing restrictions on flexible working, encouraging or excluding certain employees, is counter-intuitive. Truly flexible working should be open to all, indiscriminate of age, gender, seniority or role.”