Flexible working can level up graduate career prospects, survey suggests

The survey of 2,500 graduates found that nearly a third had accepted jobs in parts of the country they could not move to

Flexible working has been a boon to young graduates, allowing 30% of those surveyed and recently out of university to gain jobs in parts of the country they could not afford to live.  

The figure comes from a survey of 2,500 recent graduates by the careers platform Bright Network. 

They found that nearly a third had accepted jobs in parts of the country they could not move to, whether because of cost-of-living or distance of commute. Twenty-four percent of graduates say the main benefit of remote working is the flexibility it affords them to choose where they live. 

Twenty-six percent of graduates in the northwest of England accepted jobs based in a different city –  and in the Midlands, that figure was 31%. Bright Network argues its figures suggest remote working is a critical way to level up England, spreading well-paid graduate jobs more equitably across all regions of the country. 

But research by Bright Network, which has over half a million members, suggests that 63% of students would like to work in London after graduation – and nearly 40% that studied in northern universities move to London after completing university.

“Ensuring everyone has equal opportunity to get the best graduate roles, regardless of where they live or their financial background, is crucial” – James Uffindell, Bright Network

The government this week launched a consultation on proposals to reform flexible working regulations. The consultation – Making flexible working the default – covers legislation in England, Wales, and Scotland. It seeks to extend the current ‘Right to Request’ law further. 

But graduates do not perceive remote working as a panacea, the survey suggests. Half (49%) fear continued remote working will put them at a career disadvantage, 40% would prefer a mix of office and remote working, and only 6% of graduates want to work remotely full-time.

James Uffindell, founder of Bright Network said: ‘The government’s proposal to protect flexible working conditions will further cement a remote working trend that we’ve seen contribute to levelling up and social mobility for graduates.”

Said Uffindell: “Graduate and post university jobs are an important first step of a person’s career path. Ensuring everyone has equal opportunity to get the best graduate roles, regardless of where they live or their financial background, is crucial.

“This shift in the government’s stance has the potential to positively impact the country’s productivity as a whole, supporting the levelling up agenda, and ensuring economic potential is evenly distributed around the country. Universities, government and Bright Network need to collaborate now more than ever to ensure that university graduates’ prospects aren’t hindered.

“In this vein, flexible work will need to strike a balance – almost half (49%) of young people questioned fear that continued remote working will put them at a disadvantage in their careers, recognising that face-to-face time is an invaluable part of development.”


Read more here: Despite misunderstanding career requirements, 53% of students want to work with data


 

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