Content prepared by the Sloan Center on Aging & Work at Boston College

Many sources support the assertion that "the impact of flexibility on recruitment and retention is one of the best-documented and most strongly argued aspects of the flexibility business case." (53) Employers that do not offer flexible work arrangements may find themselves at a competitive disadvantage in recruitment of talent for their organizations. Recruitment has been identified as the single biggest organizational challenge for companies in the next five years, according to a 2007 McKinsey survey of business executives covering 93 countries in all the main regions of the world. Almost half (47%) of the respondents indicated that competition for talent will intensify and become more global. Other challenges include "recruiting the next generation of workers" (30%), and "dealing with talent shortages in specific skills," such as technical and managerial (26%). (61)


Bristol-Myers Squibb found that flexible work options are a very effective recruitment tool. Of employees hired in the last three years, one in five agree or strongly agree that the company's flexible work options program influenced their decision. The influence on women's thinking was even greater than for men: 30% of women compared to 12% of men say the flexible work options were a factor in deciding to join the company.(53)

In a study of a large United States retail store offering flexibility to hourly workers, flexible work options are used as a recruitment tool for top talent. Many managers credit the company's promotion of flexibility as key to its "premium employer" status. Offering flexible work options helps to attract quality employees in two ways. First, it gives employees control of their work schedule, which for many employees is a necessity. Second, it shows potential employees that the company values its associates. (80)

"I think in a way it conveys that as a company we do understand that your life is important, and we are not trying to restrict it. We want to work the best that we can with you. I think it's a good recruiting tool, you know, when you're not stringent and when someone has to work because we recognize that everyone does have a life. We recognize that some people cannot work from 8:00 to 4:00 or 2:00 to 10:00."


According to a 2010 Kelly Global Workforce Survey of job seekers, 27% of respondents in North America say that telecommuting or working from home would be "extremely important" in attracting them to a job. (56)

A survey of senior Fortune 500 male executives found that 87% believe that companies that restructure to allow for increased productivity and time for life outside work would have a competitive edge in attracting talent. (65)

In a 2003 global employee survey, 95% of employees in the United States say that availability of flexible work arrangements is a critical factor in taking a job. (53)