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Almost a quarter of jobseekers in Britain think job flexibility is the most important factor when looking for a new employment Reuters

Almost a quarter of jobseekers in Britain would prioritise flexibility over salary and career opportunities when applying for a new job, research published on Monday (15 February) has shown.

According to a survey carried out by career website, 24% of the 4,000 jobseekers and recruiters surveyed admitted the option of being flexible on the job was top of their priority list when looking for new position.

More than half of the respondents, 53%, had currently access to flexible working conditions, which were described as being able to work part-time by 74% of the surveyed, while 65% considered the opportunity of working from home as crucial in terms of flexibility and 48% defined job shares as flexible working conditions.

Gillian Nissim, founder of Working Mums, a website which provides part-time and full-time jobs as well as remote employment, said while not many companies would not spontaneously choose to offer flexible working conditions, employees had the right to demand them.

"While a lot of employers offer flexible working, the number who advertise jobs as being possible to do on a flexible basis is still very small," she said.

"This leaves employees to judge when to bring up the issue – whether before, during or after interview – and that will depend on a lot of different factors, including how competitive the applicant pool is."

Salary, however, remained top of the list of factors workers considered when choosing a new job, with 66% of respondents claiming pay was still the highest ranking decision factor for when picking jobs, followed by career progression and company benefits, which were prioritised by 31% and 29% of respondents respectively.

The shift in the dynamics in the job market was not unnoticed either, as 42% of the businesses surveyed reported candidates have become increasingly picky about the roles they accept, while 39% indicated the recruitment market is now candidate-led and, as a result, 66% employers are offering candidates more flexibility to attract the best talent.

"As candidates become more selective, recruiters that differentiate their offering stand to benefit the most," John Salt, group sales director at totaljobs, said in a statement.

"Recruiters can do this through emphasising factors beyond the job itself such as company culture, the type of working environment and the business' approach to work-life balance."

Perhaps a little surprisingly, only 12% of respondents indicated job security as the main deciding factor when looking for employment, while at 10% and 3% respectively 'making a difference@ and ethics were at the bottom of the priority ladder.