Why men want flexible working, too

fatherWhen we launched Timewise Jobs a year ago, we knew that part time wasn’t just a women’s issue, even though we expected many of our candidates to be women looking for work to fit with family. It turns out that sixteen per cent (and rising) of our current registered candidates are male. This is great news because it shows that men care about flexible working, too.

In a recent survey carried of Timewise Jobs candidates, we found that while most men registered with us (55 per cent) are looking for a part time job “to fit in with other work commitments” or because they are “looking for any job, full or part time”, a significant number seek part time work for other reasons. Six per cent of them want to allow time for leisure commitments, 7 per cent are caring for family members and 21 per cent do not need a full time salary.

We blogged in an earlier post (Part time hits the big time) about how attitudes to part time and flexible work are changing. A key contributor to this sea change has been the fact that men are now embracing new ways of working as much as women. There’s been a spate of recent articles suggesting that men’s attitude to flexible work have changed: Fathers struggling to have it all (FT), Executive sick list reflects demands (FT), Work-life balance is not just for women (FT), The Daddy Dilemma (Washington Post), Guess who finally cares about workplace flexibility? Men (Fast Company).

When Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg complained last week (on BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour) that it was only women who worried about ‘having it all’ and work-life balance, there was an immediate backlash on Twitter.

“I certainly do, as I’m now mixing part time consultancy with childcare” said Adam Tinworth, a blogger and journalist from Brighton.

“Yes we do” said Lee Cox, a London cabbie.

We were intrigued, so we asked Adam and Lee for more details about their respective situations:

“Our original plan was very traditional,” says Adam. “My wife's career would take a back seat until the children started at school, and then we'd ratchet mine down and allow her to rebuild her work. But when my wife became pregnant, I was suddenly made redundant.

“My wife committed to going back to work six months after Hazel was born and, by the time that came around, I was doing well with consultancy and training - and really enjoying the extra time I got to spend with the baby. So, we decided to share both work and childcare. My wife was already working part time, so I committed to only working four days a week.

“If we can keep this working, it’s great: we both maintain careers, I get more time with my daughter, and she grows up with a greater sense of parental equality. I suspect some people think I'm doing it because we have no choice - but that's not the case. I think we're doing better by her and ourselves by trying this.”

Lee’s view is that “I always wanted to be a dad that’s involved, not just the guy that provides. During my children's lives I've had two different career paths and now I'm on the road to a third. A job to me is something which provides a reasonable balance of remuneration and reward in job satisfaction, but it should never be at the expense of those special moments in your children's young lives.

“It's my experience that I am fairly typical among friends and family, but I do know people who still seem unable to divorce their single selves from their new roles as parents, still yearning for material goods and the social lives they once had.

“As a cab driver for 5 years, the times which often bring highest reward are the weekend and evening shifts when your children are at home. I know I'm not alone in struggling to justify to myself that the monetary value outweighs the time at home – more often than not, the children win!"

Are you a man who works part time? If so, we’d love to hear from you: are you in a part time job because you want to be, or out of necessity? If you have children, do you appreciate spending more time with them? Or do you work part time because you have an unusual hobby or interest? Please share your story on our Facebook page, get in touch with us via Twitter or join the discussion on LinkedIn.

We are especially interested in any case studies from single dads who work - or want to work - part time. If you fit that bill, please get in touch.

Photo: cheriejoyful


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