How to find a new flexible job

How to find a new flexible job

How do you find a good flexible job which uses your experience and skills? For many working parents, flexible working is their number one priority. Most, however, want a job which reflects their skills rather than to be pushed into a career siding and left there. In the current climate, it can be hard to find any job, let alone a flexible one. Most organisations don't advertise flexible jobs, except part-time ones so where do you start looking?

There are organisations, such as, which specialise in advertising family friendly jobs with a large range of employers so it is worth registering with them.

However, up to 80% of jobs are not formally advertised so it is worth doing some research on firms which employ people with your skills, checking out their flexible working policy and asking around about them before sending in a speculative letter. Use social networking to find out about any potential vacancies, even if it is only for short-term work or at more reduced hours than you would like. Once you get your foot in the door, you may be able to build on this. Ask friends, family, colleagues and ex-colleagues for any information on job openings.

If you do spot a good job that is advertised as full time it may still be worth applying and asking whether the employer will consider some form of flexibility. Legally, you don't have the right to request flexible working until after you have been in a job for six months, but if the organisation really wants you, you will have more leeway.

The six million dollar question is when to bring up flexible working at interview. There are many different opinions on this and every job situation is different so there are no hard and fast rules. Feel your way, but don't make it the prime focus of your interview. You could try asking general questions at the end of the interview about the organisation's flexible work policy. You should research this before you apply in any event and ask contacts for the inside view on whether the organisation really backs flexible working or just does so on paper.

The good news is that a growing number of employers are coming around to the positives of flexible working for both employers and employees. 

Related tags: Flexible Working

Have your say

I am so SO angry and upset that employers don't seem to value part-time working mums. I have had two children and tried so hard to return to teaching following their birth. It was quite a struggle! In my experience having people job sharing is a benefit as the skills and experience are doubled even though they may only be working part time. I believe between them they give more!

Anonymous | Report this comment

I wish to find something part time that will fit around my studies and my son who is nine years of age. My nature of work is office/admin. I desire to do somethiing of this nature at home as it would give me the flexibility I need. So far most of the positions/jobs advertised do not offer this. I wish to see more jobs available that can provide this specification.

claudette ikuesan | Report this comment

I recently asked for flexible working to be told by the boss ie woman that she never got flexi working and she coped so get on with it, now in process of a grievance and they refuse to co operate after trying to discipline me over parental leave jokers.

Anonymous | Report this comment

I am a mum of a five-year-old daughter, and desperately looking for a part-time term-time job. I would love the job to be in Enfield,or around North London. My experience has been working at nurseries and creches. My skills are strong customer/client skills, and highly organised, excellent time management skills.

Anonymous | Report this comment

Hi all, I am a mum to 2 years 8 months old twins and looking for a flexible working pattern as the childcare costs for the twins is way out of our reach. I am a ACCA qualified accountant with experience in Practice, Public sector and Charity. My skill set includese communicating effectively with non finance managers and monthly budget statement preparations and more. Looking for flexible work in Watford or the surrounding areas.

Dora Ngoma | Report this comment

Hi , I am a Mum of a 12 year old and at present living in Greece.I have over 25 years experience in the travel Industry.I would love to work from home internet based but there just isn't a lot out there and I am very cautious about many of the companies advertising. After working for the majority of my working life in a challenging environment I do find it very boring and need another challenge.

Editor: Our careers expert Linda Whittern has replied below:
The jobs market in the UK is pretty tough, as we know, but sadly the competition for jobs in Greece is much, much worse … You’ll have to exploit your assets and be very determined and organised about creating job opportunities for yourself. Your assets include your knowledge of how things work in the UK and in Greece, your language, customer service and business skills and your experience of (and contacts in) the travel industry. You are ideally suited to liaison type jobs, working for overseas English-speaking companies and acting as their representative in Greece.
Assuming you live relatively close to the major tourist sites for classical Greece (eg Athens) I think your most likely employers would be the high-end holiday providers to comfortably off, risk averse, older tourists from the USA, Canada, Australia and the UK. While you could be home-based for much of the time, these employers would probably want to use you to vet accommodation (eg for safety and visitor appeal), sites and so on. I suggest you start putting together databases of the different types of English-speaking overseas companies that do business in Greece.
Think about what help they may need from a liaison, customer service or travel industry expert on the ground. Do your research on those companies to check they’re likely to be good payers and reasonably ethical (prefer those with a long Google history to the new sites and those that provide full contact details!).
Embassies keep data on businesses / sectors active in the host country (Greece) and their home countries and normally provide such information to enquirers at no charge. It’s quite likely they’ll run some kind of internal vetting programme that will mean the more dodgy companies don’t appear on their lists (however, don’t assume this). In any case, you’ll be safer initiating the contact with potential employers rather than responding to companies which are deliberately targeting those who need to work from home and so are at a disadvantage in the jobs market. Good luck! 

kim DAVIES | Report this comment

I'm a single mum to a 3 year old boy. I currently work in the mornings only, but am doing a mundane job that really has no future and sadly no pay rises!! The cost of living is going up. When my son starts school in September I cannot increase my hours as there is no ability for the company to do so! I really want to work in either my son's school or one close by so I can at least have the same hours he is at school and try to earn a little more money!

Anonymous | Report this comment

To Dora

Why don't you set up as self-employed? If I had your qualifications I would look around my local area and ascertain if there was a niche for you to work from home for local companies, doing their books for them. For many small companies doing their vat, books etc is a pain and they welcome someone who is able to do these types of jobs on an ad hoc basis.


Anonymous | Report this comment

wow - very good job tips. I like the ideas.

Anonymous | Report this comment

I'm looking for a job working from home, i would make an exellent proofreader, i frequently spot spelling mistakes and poor grammar on big and well known websites. I have an excellent and professional telephone manner as i used to be a receptionist for a Formula 3 Racing Team. If anyone knows of an opportunity that fits the criteria then please let me know, my email is

Anonymous | Report this comment

I have been in head office retail for 15 years and during my maternity leave I have had to deal with a difficult birth and losing my father all in 12 months. When I approached my company asking for a reduction in hours, from 5 days to 4 days, I was refused and even in the meeting they piled on the pressure to return full time after 6 weeks. In 2013 I expected more part time/job share positions available at large companies.  It is not fair that you should be discriminated against because you decided to have a child - after all not going back to work is not an option now a days. It is a necessity as we live in a society where 2 incomes are needed to keep a roof over you head and food on the table.

Anonymous | Report this comment

Hi all
My name is Abi Little and I have a 16 month old little girl. I didn't want to go back to my full-time job after she was born so I resigned and joined the Bodyshop @ Home. I started in November 2012. I absolutely love it. I earn £250-300 per month for running 4 parties. I am now recruiting a team of ladies who wish to do the same. The work is totally flexible and very profitable. I earn at least £25 an hour. Full training is provided. The incentives are brilliant and because everyone knows and love the Bodyshop, booking parties is easy and so is selling. It doesn't matter where you live, you can still join my Team. If you would like to know more please contact me on: 07817926887.
Abi Little

Anonymous | Report this comment

Hi, I am 38 now and my son is 6. I am desperate to get a part time job. I have tried umpteen online sites & handed cvs into all lines of employment. I am looking for flexible work while my son is at school as I am single parent. I have got experience in retail & sales mainly but would consider others. It is really hard getting back on the work ladder as it is trying to manage on little money! wish it was easier. Claire.

Editor: Hi Claire, if you want more detailed help you can contact our careers expert and give some more details about your work background. You can contact her via the Advice & Support/Q & A page box.

Anonymous | Report this comment

I am 25 and my son is 6. I am desperate to get a part-time job. I have tried the internet, looking in shops and sending out my cv. I am interested in doing nursery work looking after children and babies and also retail work. I also have to work in between school hours so 10-2 will be great for me and I am willing to work weekends to make up the time from the weekdays.

Editor: We advertise flexible jobs, but you would need to keep an eye out for them and apply. Do you have any childcare qualifications? If you are set on that sector, it might be worth finding out what kind of qualifications you might need. Several childcare employers do offer part-time work, such as Bright Horizons. Have you tried organisations like Sliver of time - - if your time is fairly limited?

Anonymous | Report this comment

hi im a 47 year old mum i work 24 hours a week at the airport
and im looking for a part time job working from home to top my wages up.

Anonymous | Report this comment

Hi, I am 38 and have 3 children. My youngest is 3 and will not start full time school till September. I have been staying at home for the last 6 years as it was impossible to combine work and children. Childcare is so expensive in London - it would be just pointless for me to go to work. Now though I would like to return to work, part-time or flexible, something that works around the children and home. I have done some accounting courses throughout the time at home and thought I would be able to find something in this field. Unfortunately, everyone wants experience - something I don't have so I decided to volunteer in an accounting practice - even that wasn't easy to find. Now 8 months down the line I am still unable to find a permanent flexible job. I've tried job websites, checking companies online, even cold-calling - with no joy.

Editor: I will pass your information on to our careers expert so check this spot in the next day or so. 

Our careers expert Linda Whittern says:

What you’ve done as regards updating your qualifications, skills and work experience has been extremely worthwhile and sensible; it might already have netted you a job if the jobs market were less tough.

Other things you can try:-

You’ve done 8 months of voluntary work for an accountancy practice, giving you a moral right to ask them to do something to help you in your job search.   You can also point out the marketing value to the practice of having ex-practice people working in local businesses. 

I assume the practice has many relatively local clients large enough to employ at least one person in their accounts departments?  Some of those staff will leave, retire or take maternity leave and need replacing.  Explain your job search ambitions to the Partners you’ve been working for and ask them to use their contacts to find out who may need a new accounts person in the foreseeable future.  Ask the Partners to tell you about any impending vacancies so that you can “tweak” your CV to fit the job before you apply for it.  The more supportive Partners may be willing to act as your advocate with these clients and to help you rewrite your CV to suit the job vacancies. 

Even the less helpful Partners may be prepared to tell you which clients are most likely to be recruiting in the future and to permit you to send your CV to the accounts managers of clients from your practice email address.  There’s more of a chance of the CV being read if it comes from a “known” business partner – though you must also say in your email that you’re applying for the job with the consent of your manager, for whom you’ve been working on a voluntary basis  in order to further develop your work skills

You should try making more use of your own contacts (eg colleagues, friends with links to the employment world, etc) to identify a greater number of job vacancies.  These contacts might know of actual job vacancies … but more probably they’ll be able to offer titbits of information that could help you get a job (eg “Company X is setting up a new office in the town” or “Company Y is changing its recruitment consultancy – why don’t you put yourself on their books?”).  Don’t forget to speak to other Mums – they may well know which employers are more co-operative than most in offering family-friendly work and which companies keep  databanks of people wanting to work with them.  Good luck!   

Anonymous | Report this comment

I am an ACCA accountant with many years of experience in senior positions in the industry.
After taking a 2.5 years maternity leave, I am looking for a part time or a flexible full time job. I have been looking for over a year now and nothing so far.
Most of the part time/flexible jobs available are from small businesses paying low salaries.
Up until now I really believed that UK offered the best and fairer chances for career progression for both men & women. However now, I am realizing that there is a lot of discrimination against parents, especially mothers, in the job market, even for professional jobs. It's very sad to see this.

I am very tempted and motivated to drive a petition requesting the parliament to oblige big organizations to offer a percentage of part time/flexible jobs to working parents.

Anonymous | Report this comment

How it's safe to be self employed? How do we know what right? I am working but I founded difficult to continue, cutting hours and no possibility of advanced position just because I am a mum. Please help! Thanks!

Editor: I'm afraid I'm not clear what advice you would like. Do you want advice on becoming self employed? You could check out our Business Zone which covers all aspects of self employment or setting up a business - see also

Anonymous | Report this comment

I'm a first time mum to a 15 month old girl and am currently working part time at admin, 2 full days a week (9-4.30). My husband works shifts so he not very often home. My issue is the childcare for my daughter, it is becoming increasingly difficult and unreliable which is stressing me out every week. At the moment my husbands aunt and nan shares childcare every Monday over my daughter, but times always varies according to my husbands hours, Tuesdays is usually my mum but she has a lot on her plate at the moment which meant she can't do most Tuesdays. I've been told by my husbands aunt and nan that the irregularity of hours on Monday is unsettling for my LO which is stressing me out and I don't know how to stabilise this.
I can't afford professional childcare, my current job is stressful and often keeps me running ragged all day, I rarely leave on time. I would love to find a job working from home but feel I don't have the necessary skills (or I do but my confidence is at an all time low) and I am profoundly deaf which restricts what I can do.

I'm at my wits end and hope to seek advice and apologies for the long winding comment and hopefully not too whining comments. Any advice I will gratefully receive.

Editor: Could you email I will ask our careers expert for advice on the jobs issue, but it would be good to have more information on the childcare situation, for instance, would your relatives be able to help out on another day so that you could spread your hours over, say, three days so the childcare was more regular or is Monday the only day your husband's aunt and nan can do? Have you investigated tax credits or are you eligible for childcare vouchers which would help you pay for childcare -  see to find out how much support you might be able to get.

Anonymous | Report this comment

I agree with so many of the comments here. I was made redundant last year after returning to work from having my second child. I am working part time but have had to take a significant reduction in pay. This is not helpful with the cost of childcare. I have recently starting looking for something closer to home as currently I am travelling. After updating and posting my CV I have been contacted several times about work but the trail goes cold the minute I mention I want to work part time. I think the person who said we should raise this to parliament has a valid point. The government does want mothers back out to work so they should make it easier for us to do so!

Anonymous | Report this comment

Hi im 46 and currently looking for employment but so far I have not had much feedback. I do voluntary work, but would like to gain employment as it is a struggle to pay my bills.
Any Advice

Editor: Please send more information, eg, about any previous work you have done and what sector you are looking in, etc, via our Advice & Support/Q & A page box and I can ask our careers expert to advise you.

Anonymous | Report this comment

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