Part time work is often stigmatised as low paid and low skilled. But attitudes are really starting to change...
As our Power Part Time top 50 list shows, some of the best jobs in the UK are filled by people who work less than 35 hours a week. Far from being drab ‘also-rans’, many part timers are at the top of their game and loving it. Increasingly, we’re seeing part time jobs become a desirable, even aspirational, option - for employers as much as employees. Cinderella, eat your heart out!
Here are our top 5 reasons why 2015 will be the year part time hits the big time.
1. A great way to retain talent in a downturn. In a recession, part time salaries enable employers to keep some of their best workers – at a fraction of the cost. “Some of our most talented workers are part-time,” says Noam Sohachevsky, co-founder of creative agency Mint Digital. “We found flexibility was the best way to retain talent: it enables us to lower our overheads and still keep capabilities. And our employees love it: they get the security of a salary plus the freedom to experiment”.
2. The perfect work-life balance. Whether it’s reduced staff levels, shrinking deadlines or demanding clients, many of us find full time work increasingly stressful. On the flipside, going freelance means we lose the security of regular income, pension payments, sickness cover and holidays. A well-paid, permanent part time job can give you the best of both worlds. Part time employment guarantees some free time every week: to spend with family, friends or alternative, more creative projects.
3. Part time fits the values of a new generation. ‘Millennials’ have been brought up in a world of global, always-on, communications – for them, it’s not so much “keeping up with the Joneses” as “keeping up with the Joneses, the Bhattis and the Ahmeds”. As a result, younger workers have a more nuanced approach to working life: they’ve witnessed too many global disasters and economic crashes to see material gain as the be all and end all. Many of these twenty-somethings worry about global warming and believe that lowering consumption is key to getting the environment back on track – as a result, they like to share: cars, homes and yes, even jobs.
4. The role models have arrived. Trailblazers like Karren Brady, Nicola Mendelsohn and Belinda Earl are proving that part time work can be high powered and ambitious. “I wanted to be the perfect mother, the perfect employee, the perfect boss [but] perfection doesn’t exist,” Karren Brady told The Metro recently. “I spend more time with my children now and work my own hours. I do the things I like…I’m enjoying life more.”
5. Technology doesn’t tie us to our desk. In recent years, technology has advanced at such a pace that we can, in theory, catch up with work wherever we want. You can use a smartphone pretty much anywhere, so it doesn’t really matter if you’re picking up your emails at your desk, at the school gate or half way up a mountain, does it?
What do you think? Are you a committed part timer? Are you working part time due to circumstances, or choice, or both? Do you think we’ll see more people working part time in future?