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Monday, 18 June 2012

A part-time problem?


The subject of part-time work is currently in-vogue with a recent blog suggesting that 'part-time' has become a dirty word, and another report speaking of the needs/desires of fathers to work more flexibly. But here's another angle... the availability (or should I say 'lack of') part-time and flexible work, in some sectors at least.

In the current economic climate you would think that there would be lots of part-time roles as employers look to save money, but put ‘part-time’ into a search engine and watch the number of available vacancies plummet. It’s not that there are no part time vacancies, but if you want a part-time job your chances are pretty slim especially for those who are better qualified/ very experienced - One leading site had 437 HR jobs in London but put part-time HR jobs, London into the same search engine and you get.... Seven. (Some example we're setting as a sector!)

With the number of people unemployed, but looking for part-time work (eg parents and carers) to suit their circumstances - it's incredibly competitive, especially if your skills lie outside of retail or administration.

I appreciate that if the hours needed are full-time, then so be it, but I suspect that often an employer will simply not have considered that a role could be done part-time. And of the full time roles available, rarely (if ever) are they offered as a job-share option which I assume is because employers consider this a challenge to manage.

Those employed within an organisation applying for flexible working and part-time internally have to have their requests seriously considered. The fact that there are an increasing number of people in part time roles within the UK highlights that there is a ‘market’ for part-timers and there is evidence to suggest that there are significant benefits of employing people flexibly. However, there is no real requirement for employers to think about this when a vacancy arises. 

In my experience a number of people looking for genuine flexibility would be so grateful for it, that they are willing to undertake roles below their previous ‘grade’ at a lower salary, bringing all their skills and experience; and surely that represents great value for money. Yet despite this, it would seem that recruiters are missing a trick. And there is also the wider impact – a wasting of skills, families with less money to spend and therefore an impact on the economy.

I don’t know if there is a solution, but I do believe this is a problem.

What do you think? - Answers on a postcard please!