Even if, perhaps, not the economics:
Britain is facing a ‘jobs bottleneck’ due to a lack of flexible working options, says a major new study, which has found that just 6.2 per cent of quality job vacancies in the UK mention flexible working. The research, conducted by flexibility experts Timewise and funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, is the first robust overview of the quality of flexible roles available for skilled professionals across the UK. It found that 14.1 million workers, equivalent to 46 per cent of people in employment in the UK, want to work flexibly to fit with modern life - but are competing over a ‘handful of vacancies’.
The gumption part is that writing a report, which then appears in the newspapers, as a method of getting a bit of publicity, is not exactly unknown in the think tank world. And the timewise foundation (like the not economics frankly crowd, it's cool to obsess over the looming shortage of capitals) is actually a part of timewise recruitment network. Umm, specialists in finding part time work for people.
The tactic, of the report and the publicity, we do understand. But we're just kicking ourselves at not having thought up the idea of getting a charity, like the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, to fund it all. Whatever butchery that does to charity law we do think it's extremely clever. We suppose they've got to do something with the money now they're not funding Richard Murphy.
However, what isn't quite so admirable is that they've got the economics of this the wrong way around:
Timewise founders Karin Mattison MBE and Emma Stewart MBE have urged employers to use the ‘F word’ to attract talented potential employees. CEO Mattison said: “The world of work has experienced a revolution – technology advances and recent legislations have facilitated a huge growth in flexible working, yet this has not been reflected in hiring practices. “Businesses are missing out, as they consistently fail to realise just how important flexibility is to people looking for a new role. This often results in the best talent having to trade down, and take jobs way beneath their level of skill and ability. It's time we reboot the way we recruit in Britain.” Stewart added that it was time to stop talking about the ‘glass ceiling’ and instead: “do more to understand the ‘sticky floors’ in UK business, which are stopping talented people from progressing’.
This isn't a problem for businesses, this is just great for businesses. For, as Gary Becker pointed out, they get to hire talent cheaply. If businesses are "taste" discriminating against part time workers, that is doing so irrationally, then this provides better and cheaper labour for those who don't: who will then outcompete those who do irrationally discriminate. As Becker also went on to point out, if this situation persists for some time then we'd probably better conclude that it's not irrational discrimination: for that outcompetition should have eradicated that taste discrimination. Leaving us only with rational discrimination, meaning that the reason there's few part time jobs around at decent salaries is because there's few things people are willing to pay people decent salaries to do part time.
Still, getting the JRF to pay for this is pretty good.