Boost to business from flexible working worth up to 20% of annual payroll cost, analysis finds - Business in the Community

Boost to business from flexible working worth up to 20% of annual payroll cost, analysis finds

Business in the Community, The Prince’s Responsible Business Network, has today published analysis showing that employers who offer their teams flexible working could see a gain to their business worth up to 20% of their annual payroll costs.[1]

The study by BITC, produced with support from Bain & Company, finds that the potential gain for businesses from flexible working arrangements flows from increased productivity, higher employer attractiveness, boosting recruitment and retention, employees opting for flexible working over increases in pay, reduced absenteeism, and lower real estate costs. The analysis indicates that while offering flexible working can cost employers up to 6% of annual payroll bills, the benefits could be up to three times that cost.

With nearly half of working-age adults in the UK providing some kind of care, flexible working is consistently cited as the most important way employers can better enable unpaid carers to combine paid work and care.[2] Flexible working is not just about where employees work, but also how they work, including working hours and contract type. It has become increasingly important to employees, but it has also become essential for employers to offer it if they want to attract and retain talent.

Analysing job adverts from FTSE 100 companies, the study also finds that companies in the financial industry are most likely to detail flexible working options in job advertisements compared to other industries. Financial services firms are nearly three times more likely to promote flexible working opportunities in job advertisements compared to companies in the real estate sector.

Charlotte Woodworth, Gender Equality Director at Business in the Community,said:

“Nearly half of working adults have caring responsibilities, showing that employers need to consider caring the norm not the exception and make flexible working opportunities accessible to everyone. Women are more likely to be impacted by a lack of flexibility in the workplace, with many women having to leave their jobs, apply for part-time or lower-paid roles, or pass up on promotion because balancing work and caring responsibilities has become too much. This research shows that flexible working can work for employers too, and even lead to a return on investment.”

Nitesh Prakash, Partner at Bain & Company, said:

“We were pleased to work with BITC in support of this study. Flexible working is now highly important for the UK economy, employers and employees alike. Promoting flexible working opportunities can help to increase employer attractiveness and employee retention, which has proven economic benefits for businesses. It can also help people who face barriers to work for a number of different reasons, such as health, caring responsibilities, and disability. We must strive to remove the stigma around flexible working so both businesses and employees can benefit fully from its implementation.”


Notes to editors

  1. Full details of the analysis are available upon request.
  2. BITC Who Cares? Report 2022

For further information, please contact Aoife Butler Nolan, Head of Media, Public Affairs and Policy on 020 7566 8681.