For years, the term ‘part-time’ has been synonymous with junior responsibility and low pay. And yet, the pool of people who want such jobs is far more diverse than that. Many are talented and skilled professionals with years of skill and experience behind them, who want to work in jobs that make the most of their business-enriching abilities.
Yet 3 in 4 skilled part-time workers, in a recent study we conducted of 1,000, said they feel ‘trapped’ in their jobs – unable to progress up or out of their current roles, without having to forfeit that much needed flexibility. Some even reported feeling their time to ‘have a true career’ was over.
This isn’t how it should be. The UK should be a leader for best practice, in terms of part-time and flexible working. An incredible 8 million people here work 30 hours a week or less. Part-time workers account for a really significant number – 1 in 4 people – in our working population. And what’s more, flexible working has been proved to be an aid, not a hindrance to business: a study from the RSA and Vodafone UK has just suggested that an additional £8.1 billion that could be generated, through better practice.
Some of our most future-forward businesses are starting to lead change. Innovative companies, both small and large alike, are starting to employ senior-level talent on less than full time basis. People who are responsible for running teams, handling major client relationships, and driving performance.
But the fact that they have done so is rarely visible. By consequence, the myth that ‘it cannot be done’ persists and those previously talked-about trapped part-time workers, 3 or 4 levels below, remain so.
Last year, in a bid to change perceptions, Timewise identified and celebrated 50 of the UK’s most senior level part-time executives, for the first ever Power Part Time list. The Top 50 included Belinda Earl, the Style Director of Marks & Spencer (works up to 3 days a week), Lea Paterson, the Head of the Inflation Report and Bulletin Division at the Bank of England (flexes between 3.5 and 4 days a week) and Mike Dean, who heads Accenture’s BPO business (works 3.5 days a week). Both men and women made the list, all working part-time for different reasons. All challenging the concept that part-time, equals lack of commitment or a limit to potential.
We are now looking to build a fresh list of a further 50 inspirational case studies, specifically for 2013. We want to hear from pioneering businesses of all sizes, to uncover the UK’s most interesting instances of senior part time working.
If you know of an inspirational and successful part-timer working in top level role, please do let us know, by calling 0207 633 4553 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Making a nomination or entering the competition is entirely free, and only requires a few hundred words, and the final Top 50 will be given equal standing (i.e. the list is not being ranked).
The nomination process runs from now until 23 September, and the next Top 50 will be unveiled at the end of the year.
Our list is being judged by Katie Bickerstaffe, the UK CEO of Dixons Retail Ltd – who works part-time herself, Andy Saunders, the deputy editor of Management Today magazine and Steve Varley, the Chairman and UK & Ireland Managing Partner of EY.
Bill Gates once said: “As we look ahead, leaders will be those who empower others.” Never was that more true, than here. Achieving great success, in part-time or flexible hours, is something to be celebrated, not hidden. We bear the responsibility for shaping the workplaces of the future generation. It’s time to bring individual trailblazers and leading employers for flexible working, into the light.
Visit Timewise for more information.