How to get a promotion when you work part-time

How can you get promoted whilst working part time? Part time workers are often overlooked, possibly due to some unconscious bias, but there are some things you can do to help your promotion prospects, whatever your working pattern. Here are 5 tips….

Team of women talking at a desk


It’s common for people in the workplace to imply that part time workers are almost second-class employees. People subconsciously undermine part-timers all the time – by saying someone ‘only’ works part time or refusing to consider their working pattern when scheduling a meeting.

So it’s not surprising that part timers can feel overlooked when it comes to opportunities and promotions at work. But we must never forget that it’s illegal for a part time worker to be treated differently from someone who works full time, unless there are clear and objective business reasons.

With this in mind, here’s’s advice on how to land that promotion, no matter what your working style.

1.      Part-time with pride!

Never be apologetic about your part time status. Forward thinking companies now have part time Board members and CEOs in all kinds of organisations frequently work from home. The first person to convince that you deserve recognition in the workplace is… you.

Your own mindset is very powerful in demonstrating your attitude to work and how seriously you take your career. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t talk about your family at work – far from it. Being authentic and genuine, with the right mindset, you can be perceived as a committed and professional person, whatever your circumstances or working hours.

2.      Focus on your objectives.

Make sure you and your manager have set clear targets and a time-frame. The number of hours you work is irrelevant – what’s important is delivering on what you’ve promised. Take every opportunity to highlight your successes.

As a part-time worker this can demand an even greater focus on prioritisation. If a new project comes in that puts your other objectives at risk, flag it to your boss and gain clear direction on what’s expected of you.

3.      Develop your skills

To progress your career you should actively seek out development opportunities. Go on courses, seek out a mentor, ask colleagues for feedback on where you should focus to get to the next level.

Being seen to pursue these opportunities is a clear demonstration of your ambition and ongoing commitment to work.

4.      Speak up

Don’t be afraid to make it clear that you’re looking to take the next step. Some parents do decide to put their careers on hold – but if you actively state the opposite, you’ll be taken seriously.

If there’s a role available, make it clear that you’re interested in being considered.

5.      Know your rights

Employment law protects part time workers from being treated less favourably than full time workers. All part time workers should get the same treatment across pay and benefits, pensions, holiday entitlement, career development, promotion and redundancy.

If you feel that you have been overlooked for something purely because you’re part time, and there’s no logical reason for this, you could have a case for discrimination.

It often pays to ask calm questions before making any threats. It may not have occurred to the team to consider you for an opportunity or role. You could also have a confidential discussion with the HR department.

If you’re unhappy with the outcomes of these discussions you can seek legal advice – many companies offer employee assistance packages with free legal support. They can help you decide whether to pursue an employment tribunal.

We hope it won’t come to that, however! Steps 1-4 should put you in a good position to bag that promotion. Good luck.


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