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Flexible and hybrid working could open up the jobs market to almost four million people, research from the Centre for Economics and Business Research has suggested.
In a study produced with Virgin Media O2, the CEBR argues that new working practices emerging as a result of the pandemic could add £48 billion to the UK economy each year.
It would enable 3.8 billion parents, disabled people and carers to work around their other responsibilities rather than being “locked out” of certain roles. It breaks this down into 1.2 million parents, 1.5 million people with disabilities, 500,000 with caring responsibilities and 600,000 others who would be able to access work.
Almost half of those currently out of work would be able to resume employment on a remote basis, the report argues.
Part-time employees could earn an extra £3,600 every year, while people who act as informal carers could work up to seven additional hours per week. This would earn them an additional £4,800 annually.
In addition, investment in technologies to support hybrid working would add £76bn to the UK economy by 2025, and £236bn by 2040, it predicts.
Nina Skero, chief executive of the CEBR, said investment in digitisation and hybrid approaches could “fundamentally transform the economy – unlocking a massive GDP uplift, boosting productivity and building a more inclusive society”.
Madeleine Starr, director of business development and innovation at Carers UK, said 600 people per day had been forced to give up work to care for a loved one prior to the pandemic.
“However, one positive outcome from the pandemic has been working carers benefiting from remote and flexible working arrangements that have enabled them to juggle their paid jo