How to ask about flexible work arrangements in an interview
A lot has changed in the way we work over recent years. One of the most significant changes is an increase in the acceptance of flexible working arrangements from a wider range of employers. As of March 2022, it’s reported that 46 per cent of Australians with a job worked from home one or more times a week in the previous four weeks – a positive sign that many employers are now recognising that flexible schedules help increase staff satisfaction and retention.*
But there’s still a long way to go, as flexibility is still a key driver for job searches. Almost one in five Australian workers (18%) has considered resigning in the last six months due to lack of flexibility. A further seven in 10 employees would take another job if it offered more flexible hours and more than half (50%) would forgo a portion of their pay in exchange for significant flexibility.*
Our Featured Employer, Ventia are a great example of recognising the benefits and providing employees with opportunities for career development in a flexible, supportive and inclusive work environment.
“We have a workforce of over 35,500 employees and subcontracting partners across Australia and New Zealand. As a 24/7 business, there’s always someone, somewhere at Ventia delivering service excellence for our clients,” say Charmaine Higgins, Ventia’s Group Executive People & Capability. “This means we need to offer flexibility to our workforce, and build in opportunities for them to advance their career in a supportive and inclusive workplace.”
If flexibility is a driver for your job search, it’s important to recognise what this looks like for you, and know how to ask a potential new employer about their policies and benefits for helping employees achieve work-life balance.
For parents, this may include:
- Flexible rostering of days and hours
- Flexible location or remote work
- Job sharing
- Paid parental leave policy that is inclusive and accessible to all employees, regardless of gender and family types
- Paid Superannuation on unpaid leave and flexibility in how it is utilised and responds to support instances of pregnancy loss, and perinatal and post-natal anxiety and depression
- Support and communication for parents as they prepare for, leave on, during and return from parental leave, to facilitate connection with the organisation and make the transition easier
- Support for employees who care for family members other than children
So how do you ask a potential new employer about their flexible work arrangements?
Use your interview to start asking questions —rather than approaching the employer with your own demands. Pay particular interest to the company culture, how they prioritise work-life balance, and even the company’s views on flexible work arrangements in particular.
When asked what you’re looking for in your next role, in addition to elaborating on the challenges you’d like to tackle and the growth you’d like to experience, also touch on the importance of a flexible schedule around family. It’s then a great opportunity to share any examples of how you currently manage the demands or your work around family commitments, or any plans you have for making it work.
Working Parents Connect is a specialist recruitment agency dedicated to connecting return to work and working parents with flexible employment and specialist support services. You can be assured you’re applying for a role with an employer who supports your family, work and wellbeing needs. View our jobs board here or register for job alerts here.
*Report: Bridging the work and family divide: Understanding the benefits of family friendly workplaces 2022