The received wisdom is that going part-time is career suicide for the ambitious. Getting to the top calls for long hours and total visible commitment, and that does not include having Fridays off to look after the kids or go to the gym.
But the latest Power Part Time list – produced by flexible working specialist Timewise in association with MT – suggests that in reality, there are increasingly few senior roles which cannot be done on a part-time or flexible hours basis.
From a head of research at HSBC to a senior engineer at Goldman Sachs, from head of people at Google to a fulfilment director at Amazon, this year’s list finds numerous examples of big front-line jobs that would traditionally be considered full-time only being delivered by people working 3 or 4 days a week. You can't get more frontline than Detective Inspectors Ellie Pyemont and Penny Coombe, who via a part-time job share arrangement are between them the Met Police's most senior part-time officers.
Another part time myth that may finally be busted is that it’s only for women. This year’s list has a record number of men – 11 out of 50 – in industries from advertising and finance to professional services and shipping. Research conducted for Timewise suggests that of the 680,000 part-time UK workers earning £40,000 or above (full time equivalent), around 30% are men.
But that’s not to say that everything is rosy for bosses looking to go part-time –some employers still have a way to go to catch up with the growing trend. Related research by Timewise earlier this year found that out of 3.5m ‘quality’ job ads, only 6.2% offered part-time working from the outset. In London the figure was only 3%.
So the words ‘part-time’ and ‘career’ may no longer be mutually exclusive, but you will probably still have to push to make it happen.