Three quarters of part-time workers in the UK feel ‘trapped’ in their jobs, because there are too few opportunities for them to achieve promotion, or find new jobs with flexibility at their level, according to a report from the Timewise Foundation.
The Flexibility Trap, which is based on a survey of 1,000 part time workers, found 73% of workers said they hadn’t been promoted since working part time and more than a fifth said they wouldn’t even expect to be.
Nearly two thirds believe that promotion with their current employer might be possible, but only by increasing their hours – something that’s not an option for more than a third of respondents who rate part-time hours as ‘crucial’ in their lives, nor a straightforward choice for the 52% who state they are ‘important’ to them.
The Timewise Foundation, a social business that aims to find people the flexibility they need in their careers, says the influence of part-time and flexible workers in the economy is rising as one in four employed Britons now works 30 hrs/wk or less, with the vast majority (5.2 million) doing so by choice.
However, only an estimated 3% of part-time roles offer £20,000 for a full time equivalent role or more. More than three in four respondents say this lack of good quality jobs to apply for makes them feel trapped in their current roles.
When searching for part time work, respondents say they lower their expectations of what kind of job they can expect to find, with seven in 10 saying they ‘downgrade’ their expectations of both salary (full time equivalent) and what level of job they apply for.
More than two fifths say they have lived this process – with 41 per cent having already ‘traded down’, ie taken jobs beneath their skill and full time equivalent pay level, in return for flexibility.
Timewise Foundation co-founder Karen Mattison is urging future-forward businesses that are open to more flexible ways of working to say so, and is calling for employers to highlight their examples of best practice. She says: “Work in the UK is undergoing a fundamental shift. More than a quarter of UK workers are now part time or flexible, with most needing to fit their careers with something else in life. Yet millions are hitting a wall at key points in their careers, when they want to progress or move to a new role. Doing so, without losing their flexibility, presents a real challenge: leaving many feeling trapped in their current jobs. Britain’s part time workers need to know that there are forward thinking businesses out there, that do offer a future where flexibility is no inhibitor to success.”