Study finds quality flexible working could help with child poverty

Publication2Joseph Rowntree Foundation have recently published findings of a study investigating the number of ‘quality’ flexible job vacancies in the UK, which shows how living standards could improve if there were more of these jobs.

New part-time or flexible job vacancies are necessary to enable workless people in low-income households to enter the jobs market on a flexible basis, and for people in low-paid part-time work to progress to new jobs with better pay while retaining their flexibility.

The key findings shown from a summary four page document shows that:

  • Parents, older people and disabled people (the three groups under study) need to earn at least £10.63 an hour to meet minimum income standards. This rate establishes the pay threshold for a ‘quality’ job and equates to a full-time equivalent salary of £19,500 a year.
  • 1.9 million people could benefit from getting a quality flexible job and hold the necessary qualification levels to attain one. Of these, over 1.5 million people are currently in part-time work below the pay rate for a quality job. A further 154,000 people are workless.
  • There are 202,300 well-qualified people in the groups who are living in poverty.
  • Only 6.2 per cent of quality job vacancies are advertised with options to work flexibly. This compares poorly with the high demand for flexible work (47 per cent of the workforce want to work flexibly).
  • There are 8.1 people in poverty for each quality flexible vacancy, of whom 7.4 people are workless. For quality full-time jobs, the demand is only 0.9 workless people per vacancy.
  • An eight-fold increase in the number of flexible job vacancies would be needed, for supply versus demand to match that for quality full-time jobs.

Recommendations for the UK Government

The summary focuses on four main areas of focus, each with recommended approaches.

  1. Help the 202,300 parents, older people and disabled people who are in poverty and could benefit from a quality flexible job
  2. Improve the wider social mobility of the 1.9 million people who are not achieving their full earning potential and could benefit from a quality flexible job
  3. Improve knowledge about flexible working
  4. And Government can also demonstrate leadership as an employer in its own right.

Download Joseph Rowntree Foundation reports:

Summary copy – timewise-flexible-hiring-summary

Full copy – timewise-flexible-hiring-full (1)

Anyone who wants to share their views, ideas and stories with the commission can contact: childpovertycommission@birmingham.gov.uk

People are also encouraged to contact and follow the commission on Twitter using its@FairBrum handle and the hashtag #brumchildpoverty.

The commission aims to publish its report, including recommendations to tackle poverty in Birmingham, early next year.

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