Agencies should specifically highlight ways in which a role could be done flexibly. This could be via a prompt with a drop-down menu built into your job posting app, or the standard text included in all agency job roles.
For example (delete those not applicable):
At <agency> we support flexible working and are happy to discuss how this role could be done flexibly. Some of the flexible working options available for this role include:
- changing the hours worked on any given day
- changing the number of days worked each week as part of a compressed work week
- reducing the total hours worked each week on a temporary or ongoing basis in a part-time arrangement
- a job share where you partner with another colleague to perform a single role, but each work part-time
- using paid or unpaid leave entitlements for extended breaks from full-time or even part-time work
- working at a location other than your primary workplace.
While the standard text is a ‘quick’ win, building it into the job posting software or app is recommended because it becomes part of the process and prompts recruiters to ask managers for this information as part of the preparation to post a role.
It is also beneficial to promote the different types of flexibility used within your agency on the applicable 'careers' or 'recruitment' web page.
Evidence for change
In late 2019, the UK Behavioural Insights Team (BIT) in partnership with the Gender Equalities Office in the United Kingdom conducted a randomised controlled trial with a job site to encourage employers to advertise roles as flexible.
When posting a role, employers were randomly allocated to either see an additional page that asked them to list ways in which the job could be delivered flexibly, or they went through the posting process as normal with no nudge to list the flexible work options. The intervention was tested on 220,282 job advertisement postings.
This research revealed that:
- adding the page to the process resulted in a 20 percent increase in job advertisements being advertised with flexible working options
- jobs that were advertised with flexible working options had a 30 percent increase in applicants.
The NSW Behavioural Insights Unit also recommend agencies specifically list the flexible work options that are available for a role, rather than just stating a willingness to allow flexible work.
NSW Government experience
Few agencies make reference to the availability of specific flexible work options. Instead, many agencies simply provide a general statement promising a ‘flexible working environment’ or a commitment to consider requests to work flexibly. Other agencies make no reference to flexible work arrangements at all.
However, some agencies have been more specific. For example, the Public Service Commission specifically mentions the possibility of job share. The Department of Premier and Cabinet (DPC) also has text that says:
Our Commitment to Flexibility: At DPC we endeavour to make roles flexible. While this role is advertised as full time, we will consider requests to undertake the work on a flexible part-time or job share basis.
Detailed information on the flexible work options that may be available is also provided on their website.