A new study has found that HR and Recruitment is the most flexible industry to work in. This follows a rigorous analysis by Flexa – the platform where flexible companies get discovered – whereby all companies included in the industry ranking were first required to meet a certain level of flexibility.
This was measured by indexing the working locations, hours and flexible benefits on offer at companies against millions of data points. Flexibility advertised by companies was also cross-referenced against employee feedback.
A sample of 160 genuinely flexible companies based across 11 different industries were then shortlisted and ranked, based on the exact level of flexibility each workplace offered. Virgin Media O2, Not on the High Street and Blood Cancer UK were amongst the shortlistees.
HR and Recruitment companies offered the greatest level of flexibility overall, scoring 88 out of a possible 100 points, on average. JBM, Boldly, and Unleashed were amongst the highest-scoring companies overall, helping to drive the HR and Recruitment sector to first place in the industry ranking.
The top 5 most flexible industries to work in
- Recruitment & HR Tech
- Travel & Transport
- SaaS & Software
- Media & Agencies
- DeepTech, Data & AI
The top 5 most flexible companies in the HR and recruitment industry
- JBM – a remote-first recruitment agency that offers enhanced parental leave and 4-day weeks
- People & Transformational HR – the fully remote HR transformation business where staff can access fertility treatment leave
- Boldly – a subscription staffing startup that offers mental health support and enhanced parental leave
- Collins Property Recruitment – a property recruitment firm where staff get unlimited annual leave and the option to “work from anywhere”
- Austin International– an international tech recruitment agency whose dog friendly office is optional for staff
- Unleashed – remote-first people and culture experts who offer adoption leave and 4.5 day-weeks
HR & Recruitment roles cater to otherwise unanswered remote-work demand
80% of HR and Recruitment companies offer “remote-first” or “fully remote” work. 60% of companies in the sector are “remote-first”, whereby staff spend most of their time working remotely, but there are occasional team meet-ups. 20% of HR and Recruitment companies are “fully remote”, letting staff work remotely all-year round with no requirement to be in office.
“Remote-first” roles are sought after by 41% of job seekers overall. Yet separate research* shows that just 18% of companies overall offer remote-first work. This means that there are over 305 candidates searching for every one “remote-first” role posted across all industries.
People professionals protected against mental health crises
More than half (56%) of HR and Recruitment companies offer employees mental health support, a flexible working benefit sought after by almost 1 in 3 (32%) job seekers overall.
These findings come as more than 1.8 million people await NHS mental health services, according to the latest figures. Separate research also shows that poor mental health is the main reason for record rates of long term sickness amongst the workforce more widely.
Female HR management leads the way on flexible, family-friendly benefits
84% of HR and Recruitment companies studied offer enhanced parental leave, compared with just 48% of all companies. Behind the sector’s flexible working lead, and progressive approach to parental leave, is a strong female presence.
Women account for over three quarters (77%) of workers seeking flexible roles overall, Flexa’s figures show. As the most flexible industry overall, this aligns with HR and Recruitment’s predominantly female workforce, as well as the high proportion of female managers who are making the rules in the sector.
Separate research shows that women occupy 88% of administrative roles, 68% of officer roles, and 61% of managers or directors in the HR sector.
Molly Johnson-Jones, Co-founder and CEO of Flexa comments: “The HR and Recruitment industry’s bread and butter is people, so it’s no surprise that the sector is leading the way when it comes to flexible working. HR professionals are most in tune with what workers want – and what they want is flexibility.
“Our data shows a sharp decline in the number of employers offering remote-first roles more widely, despite huge demand amongst job seekers. HR and Recruitment firms are bucking this trend. And by listening to and answering workers’ demand for remote work, they stand to gain and retain top talent.
“It makes sense that 8 in 10 HR and recruitment companies offer enhanced parental leave, and more than half offer mental health support. People professionals know that only happy and healthy teams – who are able to fit work around their own lives, families and needs – are able to thrive. This industry wisdom is why the HR and Recruitment industry is leading the charge when it comes to offering flexible working benefits.”
Hannah Urbanek, Head of Marketing and Partnerships at JBM – the most flexible HR & Recruitment company overall – comments: “Our people are our greatest asset, here at JBM. That’s why we offer flexible benefits including 4-day work weeks, mental health days, and a work-from-anywhere scheme. All of these benefits enable our team to do their best work when and where it suits them – no matter whether that’s at our office in Bermondsey or from the beach… We’re excited to continue leading the way when it comes to flexibility in our industry!”