Study shows flexible working unavailable to over half of UK workforce, despite demand

Sunday, September 1st, 2019

A new study carried out by GQR for the UK’s Trades Union Congress (TUC) shows many workers in Britain are struggling to access the flexible working arrangements they desire. More than half (58%) are not offered flexible hours, and one in three (30%) say their requests to work flexibly are turned down.

The situation is further exaggerated amongst working-class respondents; two-thirds (64%) are unable to work flexibly. Similarly, just 14% of those in working-class occupations are able to work at home, compared to 37% of middle class workers.

The study also shows there is demand for more of these policies. Over one-fourth (28%) say more convenient hours are a top reason they would look for a new job.

The TUC commissioned this poll as part of their ongoing commitment to improve workers’ rights in the UK. These findings are released ahead of TUC’s new partnership with the Flex for All alliance, a campaign to make flexible working open to all workers from day one in their jobs, and to ensure employers advertise all jobs as such.

GQR designed and carried out the survey of 2,700 working people in Great Britain aged 16 and over. Fieldwork was conducted online with results weighted to the national profile of working people by age, gender, region, social grade, ethnicity, work status, and work sector.

Data tables for the poll are available to download here.

For more information, contact GQR’s London Vice President Peter McLeod, on Twitter @mcleodp or