Survey shows mismatch between advertised part-time jobs and demand

A new report from Timewise shows the impact that a lack of part-time jobs, particularly higher paid jobs,  on poverty and economic development.

Part Time or Full Time writing on block with clock on top


The volume of people wanting part-time work is outstripping available part-time jobs by four to one, according to a new report by social enterprise Timewise.

The mismatch between the size of the jobs market for part-time roles, and the growing volume of candidates who need such jobs is a key feature of the 8th annual Timewise Flexible Jobs Index published today.

Timewise estimates that more than half a million people (600,000) are specifically seeking part-time work and competing over an estimated 156,000 decently paid part-time jobs.

Timewise also points out that there is a far larger market of latent potential talent too due to the ageing workforce, which includes people with health and caring responsibilities.  It says that this number has grown from 5.8m in 2017, to 8.4m in 2022 (a 45 per cent increase in just five years).

Timewise say many part-time workers feel stuck in roles far beneath their level of skill, experience and potential earnings.

The annual Timewise Flexible Jobs Index analyses 6 million UK job ads to ascertain what portion of UK jobs offer flexible working options. The wording of job ads are scrutinised for any reference to one of 19 keywords pertaining to flexible working, such as: ‘remote working’, ‘home working’, ‘job share’, ‘flexible shifts’ and ‘part-time’.

This year the Index finds that just three in 10 UK job ads list any kind of flexible working options (30 per cent). This is just a four per cent increase on last year. Furthermore:

  • Part-time is offered in just 12 per cent of UK job vacancies.
  • When you do see part-time, it is most prevalent in the lowest pay bands (22%), but falls by nearly half in roles offering more than £20k FTE (to 12%).
  • Part-time work is offered in just 6% of job adverts for £60k FTE or more.
  • Despite the fact that one in five people now work regularly from home, just 12 per cent of job ads offer hybrid working.
  • Homeworking (or hybrid working) is offered more often at higher salary levels, peaking at 21% for roles paid £60k-£79k.
  • It is an option in only 4% of the lowest paid jobs.
  • Flexible working (where the form of flex is unspecified) has a flatter pattern across the salary bands, but is also highest for roles paid £60k-£79k.

This year’s research includes an additional piece of analysis, backed by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation: an assessment of the potential impact on living standards, job mobility, under-employment and business access to talent and skills, should more decently paid jobs get advertised with part-time options.

It includes a survey of 1,000 employers to establish why flexible hiring isn’t more commonplace, with 20 follow-up qualitative interviews.

It finds that:

  • 39 per cent of employers say they have never offered flexible working within a job ad.
  • The most common reason cited is ‘wanting to wait to negotiate flexibility post hire’ (24 per cent), followed by ‘we only offer flexible working to employees once we have got to know them’ (21 per cent).
  • Yet, this is a huge missed opportunity, particularly in terms of gender equality as two in five women will not apply for jobs, if they are not advertised with flexible working possibilities.

Timewise estimates that more than half a million people in the UK who are parents, older workers or have disabilities are either out of work or in roles far beneath their true earning potential.

Furthermore, analysis by the Institute of Employment Studies (IES) on behalf of Timewise suggests that rates of poverty could be greatly impacted if more roles are advertised with flexible working options.

Emma Stewart, co-founder of Timewise, says: “‘Trapped’ part-timers would apply in a heartbeat if they saw better part-time jobs available. They represent a deep, hidden pool of talent. Many are skilled and experienced. However, trying to attract them without including part-time options within the wording of your job ad is like going fishing without a net. If more employers tried offering quality jobs as flex from Day One, not only would they widen and diversify their talent pool, but they could help contribute to raising the living standards of thousands of people.”

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