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The flexibility trap

1 in 4 UK workers work 30 hours a week or less, yet 77% feel trapped in their current part-time role. Why are part-time workers underpaid in roles they are overskilled for? This research explores the problems in part-time career progression.

Career Ladder
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This research set out to explore what barriers face part-time workers as they attempt to progress their careers. To do this, we conducted interviews with 1000 people working less than 30 hours a week, and earning full time equivalent salaries of more than £20,000 per annum. We found when it comes to part-time and progression: Britain still has far to go.

Key findings:

A step down to part-time

Among the part-time workers interviewed:

  • 81% say their current part-time job is at least a step down, or at the same level, as the last full time job they held
  • More than a quarter say they are overqualified or over skilled for their current job
  • 7 in 10 respondents say that if they were looking for a new part-time job, they would downgrade their expectations of salary and level of seniority.

The part-time plateau

Many respondents reported reaching a plateau in their career, with the prospect of promotion fading with their reduction in working hours. Among the part-time workers interviewed:

  • 77% feel “trapped” in their current part-time jobs because of the perceived lack of good quality part-time vacancies to move into.
  • 73% have not been promoted since they started working fewer hours.
  • 63% believe that promotion within their current organisation would only be possible by increasing their hours.
  • Only half of respondents say they feel as valued as their full time colleagues in their office.

How Timewise is addressing the stigma of part-time

Following this research, Timewise has launched a search for the second Power Part Time list: a roll call of 50 people working at the top of their profession in any way but the standard 9-5. By sharing these leaders’ stories, the list hopes to prove that success and progression in part-time is and should be possible.


Published in 2013

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