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PRESS RELEASE: Rise of the work less workforce

  • Timewise Power 50 Award WinnersNew data reveals that 1 in 4 full-time workers would prefer to work part-time hours for less salary, IF it didn’t affect their career progression.
  • Research shows they have good reason to fear that ‘working less’ could hamper their career progression, with 77 per cent of existing part-time workers reporting that they feel ‘trapped’ in their roles.
  • In particular, the experience of the thousands of women who find their career progression stalled when they need to work part-time, sheds a light on the reason behind the gender pay gaps being reported across UK businesses.
  • However, there is reason for prospective part-timers to be hopeful.
  • The number of people in Britain formally working part-time in the higher income bracket has now risen to an estimated 849,000, evenly spread across all generations, representing an increase of 10% in the last year alone.
  • This growing cohort of professionals in high-earning part-time roles are proving that it is possible to progress their careers on a part-time and flexible basis.
  • Today’s new Timewise Power 50 awards reveal the faces of those in Britain who are part of the nation’s growing ‘work-less’ workforce, showcasing the UK’s top flexible and part-time workers who are delivering in high-earning, business-critical roles with non-traditional working patterns – from organisations such as Aviva, the London Stock Exchange, Shell, Tesco and Ford of Britain.
  • The Timewise Power 50 awards are supported by EY, Diageo and Dixons Carphone. 

London, Monday 26 February 2018 – New data revealed today by flexible working experts Timewise, highlights that 1 in 4 of the UK’s full-time workers would prefer to work part-time hours and accept a drop in salary, IF it did not affect their pay per hour or their career progression1.

Research has shown that 77 per cent of part-time workers often feel ‘trapped’ by their flexibility and see their careers stall at key points when they want to progress or move to a new role2.

This career plateau – often experienced by women in their 30s and 40s at a time they need to work part-time – continues to be highlighted by the gender pay gap reporting.

However, there is a reason for a prospective part-time workers to be hopeful. There is now a growing cohort of high-earning professionals who are proving that it is possible to break-through and progress their careers on a part-time basis.

There are now an estimated 849,000 Britons who are working formally part-time in the higher income bracket (earning a minimum of £40,000 full-time equivalent), equally proportioned across all generations, which represents an increase of 10 per cent in the last year alone. Of these, a third are men – with 264,000 men and 585,000 women choosing to work less than full-time in high-earning roles3.

There is now, more than ever, a pressing need for businesses and organisations to drive structural changes in the UK’s jobs market – by designing and unlocking more jobs to flexible working options to suit people better at different stages of their lives. This will help employers access a wider and more diverse pool of talent, maximise their skills, and tackle challenges such as closing the gender pay gap.

With part-time and flexible working at senior levels continuing to move further into the spotlight, the unveiling of today’s new Timewise Power 50 awards, champions the people who are doing it best, and the organisations who are responding to how people in the UK want to work.

This year’s awards feature 50 of the UK’s most senior part-time and flexible workers, across five different categories, recognising new definitions of success and an ever-evolving flexible jobs market – the Power Part Timers, the Power Job-Sharers, the Power Climbers, the Power Returners, and the Power Founders.

Winners come from organisations in a variety of industry and sectors such as Aviva, the London Stock Exchange, Shell, Tesco and Ford of Britain. These include people who are working in senior, business-critical roles on a part-time basis; middle-managers who are working their way-up in part-time roles; those who are job-sharing a senior role; people who have started their own business as a way of achieving flexibility, and the returners who have made it back into the world of work after a break and are making a success of it on a flexible basis.

For the first time ever, businesses and organisations have also been recognised with Employer Awards for demonstrating excellence in flexible job design – creating jobs with built-in flexibility that suit employers and employees alike, and flexible hiring – consistently offering flexibility at the point of hire and saying so.

The awards are compiled annually by Timewise co-founders Karen Mattison MBE and Emma Stewart, CEO, MBE, to help make flexible working the new normal – by creating more role models, debunking the myth that you cannot deliver in a top job in less than full time hours, and changing the conversation on how businesses recruit senior talent.


  • The 2018 Timewise Power 50 awards include: 26 senior part-time workers, 4 middle-management part-time workers, 6 senior flexible and part-time career returners, 5 flexible business founders, and 9 senior job-shares.
  • 7 in 10 of the UK workforce (73%) currently work either part-time or full-time with some form of flexible working pattern4.
  • Across the UK’s labour market more widely: over 8.5 million people are working part time hours, accounting for 1 in 4 of all workers in the UK.
  • Of which 70 per cent choose to do so, to fit work with ‘something else in their life’5.

The Awards, designed to inspire more employers to open their doors to talented people who need flexible and part-time work, has been published today in association with Management Today and is supported by three businesses that champion workplace change and are at the cutting-edge of finding the best of talent: EY, Diageo and Dixons Carphone.

Timewise Co-Founder Karen Mattison MBE, says: The debate about flexible working has changed. It is not just about working anytime and anywhere. It is also about the millions of UK workers who – for a whole host of reasons – want or need to work less.  And today’s new data shows us that this is not just for those in lower paid roles. This ‘work-less’ movement is just as strong among senior professionals and business leaders.

The unveiling of our new Power 50 awards is testament to this movement and I am proud to continue driving the conversation by sharing the stories of our many winners. Both men and women, across a wide variety of sectors, they represent the growing cohort of professionals in the UK who are showing by example that it is possible to have a successful career whilst working part-time and flexibly.

There is now a pressing need for UK businesses to take action, by designing and unlocking more quality jobs to flexible working options to fit better with people at different stage of their lives. This is what people in 2018 want, now employers need to deliver.” 



  • Sinead Lynch – UK Country Chair at Shell. Holds overall accountability for overseeing Shell’s UK operations, representing the business in its dealings with partners, government bodies and other key stakeholders, as well as leading more than 5,500 staff. A senior female employee in a male-dominated industry, Sinead chose to work part-time to balance her personal and professional responsibilities, and has since been promoted on that basis. – works a 4 day week
  • Riaz Shah, Global Talent Partner at Based in EY’s London HQ, Riaz chose to work flexibly in order to open a free school for disadvantaged children, the One Academy, and continues to play a governance role at the school, as well as contributing to social enterprises and coaching start-up CEOs. His role at EY focuses on strategic talent projects across the global workforce, such as the design and launch of digital development programmes for the company’s 250,000 employees. – works a 2.5 day week


  • Will McDonald and Sam White – Group Director of Public Policy & Sustainability at Aviva PLC. With a remit covering global strategy, local implementation and culture change, they report directly to the Global Executive Board, leading projects and campaigns that span multiple business areas and markets. Will and Sam chose to job-share to help care for their respective children and support their partners’ careers. – work a 3 day week each
  • Liz Robinson & Nicola Noble – Co-Headteacher at Surrey Square Primary. With a shared ambition to make a difference in the education system, and a belief that a headship requires more than a five-day week, Liz and Nicola have led the school as a job-share since returning from maternity leave in 2014. The school has since been judged as outstanding by Ofsted, who praised the pair for their inspirational leadership and pursuit of excellence. – work a 4 day week each


  • Robert Carmichael – Relationship Director at Lloyds Banking Group. A career banker with over 25 years’ experience, Rob took a three-year career break to spend time with his young children. He came back to the industry through Lloyds’ returnship programme, after which he was promoted into a more senior position. Rob’s primary responsibility is delivering world-class service to a portfolio of clients in the manufacturing and industrial sectors, embedding strong risk controls and delivering income growth for the Group. – works a 3 day week


  • Beatrice de Montille – Founder and Creative Director at Merci Maman. With a background in sales and marketing, Beatrice was keen to return to work on a flexible basis after maternity leave, but didn’t feel that corporates offered the work-life balance she needed. Having spotted a gap in the market for stylish, personalised jewellery, she decided to set-up her own. Today Beatrice employs 30 people, all of whom are encouraged to work flexibly. – works a 4 day week


Lynn Rattigan, Chief Operating Officer at EY, UK & Ireland, says: The workplace of the future will no doubt be characterised by flexibility. In the unfolding gig economy, employers will need to take a more agile and innovative approach to recruiting and retaining talent. Leading the way, the Timewise Power 50 showcases the stories of many who have different patterns of working. They are demonstrating that you can have a senior role, or work towards one, whilst working flexibly; inspiring others.”

 “I am fortunate, and proud, to work for an organisation that places great importance on empowering people to choose how, when and where they work, in order to achieve their professional and personal ambitions. It helps us to create a positive working environment where everyone can thrive and prepares our business for the future.”

Katie Bickerstaffe CEO, UK & Ireland, Dixons Carphone plc, says:An inspiring list of winners for 2018. The Power 50 should be incredibly proud of their work, and of their employers who embrace the notion of flexible and part-time roles. I’m proud that Dixons Carphone have been able to support the work of Timewise, which is almost single-handedly changing the way employers perceive part-time and flexible working. I’m proud too that we’ve been at the forefront in being open to flexible working in many of the roles we recruit for, attracting and retaining some of our top talent as a direct result.”

Louise Prashad, Global Talent Director at Diageo, says: “At Diageo we know that the success of our business depends on the success of our people. We are firmly committed to creating an environment where all our employees feel included and able to perform at their best in all aspects of their lives. We are hugely proud to be sponsoring the Timewise Power 50 awards, and to have one of our fantastic employees recognised for yet another year. Congratulations to all the winners!”

   – ENDS – 


For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact Campaign Director, Daniela Marchesi: t: 0207 633 4553; m: 0797 3300059 e:


1 Source: ‘Flexible Working: A Talent Imperative’, a Timewise research report, 2017

2 Source: ‘The Flexibility Trap’, a Timewise research report, 2013

3Source: Analysis of the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings 2017. Conducted by the Learning & Work Institute in January 2018, on behalf of Timewise.

In the UK, there is now an estimated 849,000 (2016, 773,000) workers who are working formally part-time, in the higher income bracket (earning a minimum of £40,000 FTE / £20.44 per hour, based on a 37.5 hour week).

This figure highlights a 10% (76,000) increase from the last reported ASHE salary survey by Timewise (February, 2017).

Of the 849,000, 585,000 are women (increase of 56,000 or 11%) and 264,000 are men (increase of 20,000 or 8%).

Part-time workers in the higher-income bracket, can be broken down into the following age groups:

  • 30-39 year olds: 195,000
  • 40-49 year olds: 242,000
  • 50-59 year olds: 207,000
  • 60 year olds & above: 135,000

In the context of ALL UK workers who are formally working in the higher income bracket, this figure now stands at 5.6 million (3.478 m are men; and 2.183 m are women).

4 Source: ‘Flexible Working: A Talent Imperative’, a Timewise research report, 2017

 5Timewise analysis of the latest available national Labour Market Statistics published by the Office for National Statistics at the time of writing (published on 21 February 2018). 8,534,000 people work 30 hrs/wk or less in the UK. Source: See ‘total people working part time column’, p.41:


Timewise ( is a multi-award winning social business, working to unlock the flexible jobs market in the UK. We share market insights on flexible working and flexible hiring, deliver training and consultancy to help businesses attract and develop the best talent, and conduct research such as our annual Flexible Jobs Index.

We also run Timewise Jobs (, a national jobs board for roles that are part time or open to flexibility.

Timewise is led by award-winning founders, Karen Mattison and Emma Stewart, CEO. They have been listed as two of the UK’s leading radical thinkers by the Observer newspaper and Nesta; named ‘Small Business Heroes’ by Management Today magazine and ‘two of the key social entrepreneurs to watch’ by Real Business magazine; and are winners of the Institute of Directors’ Women Changing the Business World award, following nominations from the UK public. In 2010 they were made MBEs for their services to social enterprise.

1 in 4 full-time workers would prefer to work part-time for less salary, if it did not affect their hourly pay or career progression. Today’s Timewise Power 50 awards reveal some high profile faces of Britain’s growing ‘work-less’ workforce.

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