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Are women really benefiting from flexible working?

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More than two out of five (36%) of firms today say flex-work initiatives are their top resort to curbing staff absenteeism.

But how effective are such initiatives really?

Not really, according to a study by Nottingham Business School, which surveyed over 5,000 households in the UK.

The study highlighted that working part-time for a longer period and working flexible hours were associated with lower job satisfaction among women, but greater satisfaction among men.

The main issues that contributed to this dissatisfaction included a feeling of being trapped in ‘restrictive’ flexible employment.

Plus, women felt they were only able to gain a low skilled employment and experienced limitations in career progression.

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In comparison, the use of flexible working arrangements was often perceived more as a choice for men.

For example, flexi-time, the most common arrangement used by men, allows them to help with the management of household responsibilities while maintaining full-time employment.

However, while job satisfaction was negatively affected, the results did actually suggest that women working part-time experienced more leisure satisfaction.

“In practice, work-life balance and flexible working continue to be viewed as a ‘women’s issue’, as women more often reduce hours or work part-time as a result of constraints imposed by their greater household contribution” commented Dr. Daniel Wheatley, the main researcher on this survey.

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