By Emma Turner

Flexible working has undergone something of a transformation over the last few years. The amount of flexible working opportunities has exploded across the economy, and this has resulted in changing expectations across the UK workforce. Research shows that employees across the economy value flexible working, and remote working opportunities more than ever post pandemic. For example, a poll of UK workers, conducted by EY as part of their ‘2021 Work Reimagined Employee Survey’ found that four in five employees wanted flexibility where they worked. It is becoming clear that great talent expects more flexibility than ever before (and may be willing to switch jobs for it), and academy trusts and schools are not immune to this.

Having greater flexibility built into working hours, patterns and locations is likely to become increasingly important for academy trusts in the current, highly competitive, job market. While the ratio of vacancies to every 100 employee jobs reached a record high of 4.1 in October to December 2021 according to ONS (Office of National Statistics), in January 2022 new DfE data revealed that the total number of ITT applications were down 24% compared to a year ago, and are now lower than in pre-pandemic years. It is therefore crucial for all trusts to seriously consider how to create greater opportunities for flexible working, in order to recruit and retain the very best talent, despite this challenging climate. Although we face particular contextual challenges when it comes to building more flexibility into job roles in the education sector, it is far from impossible. In fact, it may be much more possible than you think.

“Although we face particular contextual challenges when it comes to building more flexibility into job roles in the education sector, it is far from impossible. In fact, it may be much more possible than you think.”

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