Our latest HR Reflections research found that 58% of organisations believe that the traditional 9-5 hours will not be relevant for much longer. Soon people will need to be measured on output rather than hours.
A huge part of this change is the mindset of the millennial who look for more flexible roles and place a greater emphasis on work/life balance. But what we’re also seeing is a big change in both the perception and composition of the part time workforce and the ways in which people want to work.
Gone (or, not to be so dramatic, lessening) are the days of female domination. The rising face of part time work belongs to men – and not just any men, professional men.
There are around 8,000,000 part time workers in the UK currently, a quarter of which are men. Just under 10% of those part time workers are higher earners on a full time equivalent of £40,000 or more a year. A third of them are men.
Timewise has published its Power Part Time list, in association with Management Today here. The list, which includes a record number of men, is designed to encourage employers to hire skilled workers who prefer, or need, to work part time.
But how are employers meeting this?
A recent study in the US involved sending job applications which varied very little from each other in terms of education and work experience – the main difference was gender. The research found that women received more responses than men, and concluded that working part time may actually damage men’s future careers – the perception being that it signifies a lack of commitment. The same view doesn’t apply to women, as it is considered to be a part of women’s work life.
If we go by these results alone it would seem that this is a rare occasion where women get the better end of the stick, and part time work doesn’t damage their careers. However, Timewise also found that women currently in flexible roles are finding that they have come to a standstill, feel trapped, and are unable to climb the career ladder. They also found that in the UK only 6.2% of quality job vacancies mention flexible working.
The gig economy
Those women may do better working for themselves – although this does come without the provision of maternity leave, or any form of holiday pay or other benefits that permanent employment brings. But that is a gamble that many people are willing to take.
The combination of the recession in 2008 and the rise in technology and faster internet connections has allowed people to work differently, and what may have initially seemed like a punt to get through the crash until permanent work arose has become a way of life for 16% of us – over 4million people. There are so many well-funded start-ups now, who will pay freelancers well to get the ball rolling. The likes of Uber and Airbnb have opened up vast opportunities and disrupted the more traditional industries.
What we’re seeing is a change in the way that professionals approach work. Part time is no longer dominated by low skills, and neither is the gig economy – rather it is being empowered by technology. People are appreciated for their output so there is a greater level of flexibility in time.
It’s time to catch up
Strides in technology aren’t going to get smaller any time soon. If the option is available, people are going to continue to turn to different ways of working which complement their lifestyles. We have to create the right culture through better communication, involvement and career options to support real opportunities for different ways of working, or we will be missing out on a growing pool of knowledge and skills.