Senior jobs with flexible hours 'get 20% more female applicants'

Women are 20% more likely to apply for senior roles if they offer flexible hours, a government-backed study for Zurich insurance suggests.

Using gender-neutral language in job adverts also generated "significant change", it found.

It comes after Zurich, which employs 4,500 in the UK, began advertising part-time, job share or flexible options in all job vacancies last year.

As a result it said the number of women hired for top roles had risen by 33%.

The research - which was carried out by the Behavioural Insights Team, a government-backed think tank - found women have struggled to progress in their careers at Zurich in the past.

It found there had been a lack of applications from women for senior roles, many of which had not been available on a flexible basis.

Female employees reported this had made them less likely to apply.

"We've seen hugely encouraging results, simply by adding six words to our job adverts [offering flexible working arrangements]," said Steve Collinson, Zurich's head of HR.

"By offering roles that fit flexibly around family life, employers could open the floodgates to a much wider pool of untapped talent.

"This will also help women progress into higher paid jobs whilst fitting other commitments around their careers," he added.

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