Part-time work can offer flexibility for both employees and employers. As I explained recently in our regular segment with Alan Hickey on FIVEaa, just like full-time work, part-time roles are often offered with regular hours and days, and can be offered as a permanent position. Although it’s not the case for everyone, many employees prefer a part-time role. Therefore, employers who do not consider part-time employees are at risk of losing or not considering top talent looking for the flexibility of part-time hours. There are many reasons why part-time roles are considered, but three common arrangements relate to further study, caring duties and transitioning to retirement. Let’s look at each of these in turn, as well as some general considerations when negotiating part-time work that works for you.
Combining further study and part-time work
If you are looking to take your career to the next level, you may be considering further study. Full-time work with part-time study is a common approach. However, combining part-time work and part-time study is another option. It may also let you complete your studies sooner. Some employers are supportive of employees undertaking additional study or training and offer flexibility to achieve this. Depending on your employer, you may be able to access part-time hours, paid or unpaid study leave, or financial support.
For employers, offering the flexibility for staff to undertake further training or study can make your organisation more desirable. Consequently, you may be more likely to retain your top talent or attract the best in your field. Providing opportunities for your staff to pursue extended development opportunities may be worth considering and can be highly valued by candidates.
Caring for your family and your career
Many workers also have substantial caring responsibilities, which may lead to a season of part-time employment. However, in the right role, it is possible to manage caring responsibilities alongside part-time work that can build your career. Look for roles that provide the level of flexibility you need, but also have opportunities for development. Maintaining industry knowledge and current experience is important. So is maintaining your professional network. Flexible employers who offer these opportunities and the flexibility of part-time hours, particularly for long-term roles, can secure outstanding talent and a stable part-time workforce.
Retaining experience and sharing knowledge
Part-time work presents the opportunity for employers to gain or retain experienced employees as they transition to full-time retirement. Experienced workers may also appreciate the opportunity to share their skills and knowledge with others. This arrangement can work well for businesses that need additional staff, but not on a full-time basis. So, depending on your industry and circumstances, part-time opportunities for experienced staff may be worth considering.
What to think about when considering part-time roles
To make the most of part-time work, establishing open communication channels and negotiating clear parameters are crucial. This includes communication channels between employer and employee as well as with the wider team and workplace. What tools will be used for team communication? How will part-time employees communicate with day-to-day managers? What about communication when part-time staff are not in the workplace? Related to this, how will you choose working days and hours? There is no right or wrong way to answer these questions; the answers will differ depending on your circumstances. However, working through these considerations when starting or offering a part-time role will help to establish clear boundaries and expectations for a positive working arrangement.
There are many reasons for preferring part-time work as an employee. It might be to gain experience while studying. It could be to allow for caring duties. Or perhaps it’s to transition from full-time work to retirement. Reflecting on your objectives can help you focus on opportunities that will be the most meaningful to your career stage. For employers, the businesses that do part-time work best are the ones that value part-time employees equally with full-time staff. So, if you are an employer that values and supports part-time workers, you have the opportunity to stand out and attract top talent that wants the flexibility of a part-time role.
Every month I talk recruitment with Alan Hickey on FIVEaa. Follow SULLIVAN Consulting on social media for the latest updates on when to hear us and what topic we’re tackling next.