Would going part-time harm my prospects?

I want to spend more time looking after my son but all the other men I work with are full-time. Am I going to fall behind on the career ladder?

by Jeremy Bullmore
Last Updated: 24 Aug 2015

Q: My wife has just upped her hours at work and I'd like to go part-time to help look after our son. A few of my female colleagues work part-time but none of the men. Is this move likely to affect my career progression? What's your advice?

Jeremy says: It will depend quite a lot on the nature of your role. If it's a conventional role, one that could be filled perfectly adequately by anyone of equivalent experience and qualifications, then I'm afraid – whatever reassurances you might be given - your career prospects would probably suffer. You can argue that it shouldn't be so, but part-time workers may be more inconvenient to manage and employers often see them as lacking in ambition and therefore lesser candidates for promotion. Furthermore, this prejudice is much more likely to be held about men than about women.

On the other hand, if your contribution is more personal – if you bring a particular skill to your company and one that it would find difficult to replace or replicate – it's much more likely that you could go part-time and forfeit nothing in the way of career progression.

Jeremy Bullmore is a former creative director and chairman of J Walter Thompson London. Email him your problems at editorial@managementtoday.com. Regrettably, no correspondence can be entered into.

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