A quarter of UK techies spurn jobs without flexible working options

New research by online recruitment specialist, www.theitjobboard.com, shows that a quarter (25.4 percent) of IT professionals have turned down a job offer because the position did not offer flexible working. In addition, although nearly all ( 93.2 percent) of IT professionals would like the option to work flexible hours, almost half (47.1 percent) thought a request for such a scheme would be refused by their employer while 10.3 percent feared that it would label them a troublemaker.

Following these results www.theitjobboard.com has warned companies that they will be hit hard by the impending IT skills crisis if they do not review their staff retention policies. It is offering guidance with a free white paper, "Effective Retention Strategies for IT Professionals" available from http://www.theitjobboard.com/itjb/Retention_Guide.pdf. Ray Duggins, managing director of www.theitjobboard.com , explains: "With an impending skills crisis in the IT sector, employers have no option but to ensure they are going the extra mile to retain high-calibre candidates - and that starts with an attractive recruitment package.

Failure to focus on this aspect will severely damage their business offering. Our research shows that flexible working is clearly highly valued by current staff and potential candidates - companies that take this issue seriously will reap the rewards."

www.theitjobboard.com is also urging employers to play a role in limiting environmental damage by helping to reduce the number of commuter journeys as the UK struggles with increasing road congestion and old, over-crowded trains. Duggins continues: "The flexible working issue runs deeper than guarding against the skills crisis - all organisations now have a responsibility to society as a whole to be more 'green'. Reducing the amount that people have to travel not only improves the quality of their life, but will be of long term benefit to the environment."

The survey is part of series undertaken by www.theitjobboard.com to understand the issues behind the trends in the IT recruitment marketplace. It comes ahead of Work Wise Week (16 to 22 May), organised by Work Wise UK, an initiative backed by the CBI and TUC to encourage flexible working.

A key element of www.theitjobboard.com's research was to find out about the perceived benefits of flexible working. 51.9 percent of respondents believed that it would improve their overall work/life balance, 16.8 percent said it would enable them to avoid busy travel times and 13.5 percent felt it would make them more productive at work. Other advantages listed included being able to do a hobby or class, better accommodation of a partner's schedule, helping with childcare and being able to spend more time with their children.

Other key findings of the www.theitjobboard.com research are as follows:

- 82.6 percent believed that roles in the IT sector were suited to flexible working

- 46.2 percent currently worked flexible hours

- 71.6 percent had never been offered the chance to work flexible hours

- 73.2 percent did not see that people with children had more right to flexible working than those without

- 36.8 percent felt that flexible working was biased in favour of women

Duggins concludes: "It is imperative that employers recognise that there is a sound business case for offering the option of flexible working hours - far from being troublemakers, many staff feel they are more productive if they have more choice in the actual times that they work. Not only that but the very nature of the technology that these employees are responsible for implementing and maintaining often requires that they are on hand outside the normal nine to five, as well as enables them to work remotely. As most of the respondents observed, IT positions are therefore ideally suited to a flexible working structure."

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