Flexology Q&A: 'Most rec agencies are ignoring the flexible market'

Director and Co-Founder of Flexology, Shelley Snelson, spoke to us about why agencies must stop ignoring the benefits of flexible working patterns, and why she decided to end her career in the business and finance spheres to set up a firm dedicated to helping candidates find flexible work…

What made you decide to set up an agency specifically for flexible roles?

The benefits of flexible working are compelling and there is plenty of evidence showing it contributes to improved business and financial performance.  Despite this, the availability of flexible roles is limited, meaning a large and growing talent pool is being overlooked. 

My Co-Founder Kristal McNamara and I wanted to bridge this gap. The demand for flexible working is on the rise, with many candidates trapped in lower paid roles below their skill level or even worse, unemployed because they are unable to find a role that accommodates.  And this issue isn’t limited to women. Millennials want a better work life balance and we have seen more parity of childcare responsibilities for both parents. In addition, the aging population need this flexibility too.

However, a lot of companies are using the same approach to HR and recruitment that they always have. Most recruitment agencies are ignoring the flexible work market. In fact, the number of flexible roles advertised is less than one in 10, and companies are missing out on a huge business opportunity that it offers - access to skills, improved diversity, improved retention, improved employee wellbeing to name a few.

We want to challenge the way companies think about recruitment and their people strategy.  McNamara and I both come from business and financial backgrounds and have had experience of managing, recruiting, and developing teams.  Our aim is that, by focusing on flexible work opportunities we can significantly increase recruitment in the South West.

Tell us more about your training, events and research services?

To maximise flexible working opportunities, we need to have an end-to-end approach.  We offer training to clients, for example where flexible working is a relatively new structure and they need to adapt their people policies and train managers.  We also offer training to candidates to ensure that they represent themselves to their full potential – a facet especially important after a career break.

We’re also partnering with businesses in the South West and running pilot studies to demonstrate the value of schemes such as job sharing and returnships. This will encourage local businesses to adopt policies and will add to the global body of evidence supporting flexible working. Our events are designed to facilitate discussion and sharing of agile working best-practise but also to encourage local networking.

What do you hope to achieve over the next few months?

We have now been in operation for a month and have had a great reception from clients and candidates. Our focus is currently on employee placements and we expect to grow that business over the next few months, whilst securing new office space and expanding our team.  We also expect to publish a white paper which will further support the case for flexible working.

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