How to find a senior part time job

A recent webinar by Capability Jane gave tips about how to find a senior part time job.

Woman in boardroom


Some 34% of experienced workers want to work part time, but how to get those jobs is a big issue. A webinar last week gave some advice on how to do so.

The webinar, hosted by Capability Jane, reported recent research which showed 2.1m experienced workers want to work part time and that 80% of women will want to work part time at some point in their working lives.

Many of these are women who are in the pipeline for leadership positions. Demand is not limited to women, though. The next generation, Generation Y, is looking to work part time and many of those coming up for retirement – the so-called baby boomers – are also keen to go part time to transition to retirement.

Women returners are one group which is keen to work flexibly with many seeking homeworking, but 60% would like to work part time and ideally no more than three days a week.

Those who have found a high quality part-time job have mainly done so through using their own networks, the webinar heard. “There is a lot you can do yourself,” said Sara Hill of Capability Jane.

It was important to check that the roles you were seeking could work on a part-time basis, she said. Some employers had been badly burnt in the past by offering part-time work for fear of saying no to an employee and finding that what they had agreed to was unsustainable.

“Any decision must be driven by the role, not the individual,” said Hill.

Any decision should not create extra work or disruption for the rest of the team. It should also not mean that the individual who works part time has to put their career progression to one side.

Managers may be won over if it is made clear that the arrangement may not be forever and that they can trial it.

Consider the role

The webinar highlighted women in technology who had worked part time in senior roles, including job shares. It was important when asking to go part-time in a role that applicants showed they understood the role and what the impact of them going part time might be on their team and how their work flow could be controlled – for instance, whether workload was predictable, how much of it needed immediate attention and how client expectations could be managed.

Employees also had to consider how responsive they needed to be if they had to leave early, what would happen if an urgent issue came up on a non-working day and whether they could delegate such urgent work.

If they wanted to work remotely, they had to consider if they had the equipment to support this. In addition to technology issues, they needed to consider security issues, how output would be managed and whether there was mutual trust between team members.

Some face time was important and issues of how remote workers would stay connected also needed to be thought through.

The webinar ended by stating that part-time and job share roles were increasing and transferring now to client facing areas, having primarily been in support functions.

However, there were big issues around when to bring up part-time work in interviews. Sara Hill advised to go with the recruitment process.

If the job advertised was full time but it was realistically possible to do it part time, it was not advisable to leave it till the offer stage to negotiate reduced hours.

Employers didn’t usually like last minute surprises, she said. It was better to talk about it in the interview stage if you felt things were going well and the interviewers liked you.

To sum up, Capability Jane said people were more likely to be successful in applying for a part-time role if they showed they had considered the role carefully and had considered the business demands as core.

It runs a job share project and the parting message was to push for more job shares as a good way of getting around the issues of workload in senior positions and the demand for part-time work.

This would satisfy employee demand and mean businesses did not lose talented staff, plus they could benefit from two people’s experience.

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