EMPLOYERS are missing out on attracting talent by failing to promote flexible working, according to new research.

Apart from pay, more than half of Scottish workers (53 per cent) say working flexibly is key when searching for a new job – yet only one in eight employers mention flexibility at the point of hire.

The research by Family Friendly Working Scotland (FFWS) found that almost nine out of ten Scots who work flexibly say it makes them happier and improves their quality of life. More than two thirds of those able to work flexibly say they “go the extra mile” for their employer and are more productive.

However fewer than half of Scots workers (46 per cent) say they are allowed to work flexibly.

Nearly a third of employees believe their employer could do much more to help them work flexibly while 14 per cent think employers are “all talk” when it comes to flexibility.

The survey also showed that it is not just working mothers who want to work flexibly, with fathers and non-parents also wanting the option.

“Too many people still think working flexibly is about mothers and part-time work but this assumption is outdated,” said Nikki Slowey, joint programme director for FFWS. “The ability to work flexibly is wanted by men and women and is sought after by workers of all ages, parents and non-parents alike. Many just want small changes, such as amending their start or finish time, or having occasional time off for family emergencies, deliveries and school events.”

The research, released to mark National Work Life Week, comes as a Glasgow firm becomes one of the first private sector organisations in the UK to offer term-time only contracts. Those taking up the positions will not be required to work during the school holidays, and office hours during term-time will run from 9.30am – 2.30pm to accommodate parents who need to collect their children from school.

The initiative, the first of its kind in the UK, is part of an award-winning range of innovative measures developed by Pursuit Marketing to help employees achieve a positive work-life balance and provide the business with a competitive edge within the jobs market.

Other benefits available to all Pursuit Marketing staff include working a four-day week for full time pay, fully flexible working patterns, daily fitness classes and guaranteed family holidays.

“Pursuit Marketing was named the SME Employer of the Year for 2017 due to its innovative flexible working practices,” said Nikki Slowey of FFWS.

“Pursuit Marketing are trailblazing by offering a four-day week for all employees, which has delivered tangible benefits to both employees and the business. Pursuit has been incredibly brave and has demonstrated success with increased productivity. The world of work is set to change and an increasing number of Scots want to work flexibly, which benefits both business and people.”

Pursuit Marketing, a demand generation agency specialising in the IT and technology marketspace, is continuing to grow.

“Last year we introduced a four-day week for our staff, without cutting pay, and productivity soared so this is a natural progression of that policy,” explained Lorraine Gray, operations director at the company.

“Parents often feel torn between work and spending time with their children, especially during their early years, and this solution resolves that dilemma.

“Pursuit Marketing are delighted to be the first private sector organisation in the UK to provide the ultimate work life balance for parents.”