Part-time workers are feeling ‘trapped’

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A new study* into the barriers that part-time workers face when they wish to progress their careers has revealed that those who opt to work 30 hours or fewer often witness their careers hitting a wall.

More than three-quarters of part-time workers (77%) feel ‘trapped’ in their current roles, believing that there is little chance of finding an alternative role without losing seniority and flexibility.

Seven out of ten respondents to the survey admitted that should they look for a new job, they would have to lower their expectations in terms of both salary and seniority. In addition, two fifths (41%) had already ‘traded down’ – taken a job that was beneath their skill level and their full-time equivalent pay level.

Almost three quarters of part-time workers who were interviewed (74%) had reached a plateau in their careers, saying that they had not been promoted since switching to part-time work. More than one fifth (22%) said that they did not expect to be promoted in their current role, despite the fact that slightly more than this (29%) claimed to be overqualified for their current role.

Nearly two thirds (63%) thought that they could receive a promotion, but only by increasing their hours.

Just over half (54%) of respondents said that they do feel as valued as their full-time colleagues. On the other hand, a significant portion (34%) do not, and more than one in ten (11%) said that they felt invisible in their company.

“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,” Karen Mattison, co-founder of Timewise Foundation, said.

“Doing so, without losing their flexibility, presents a real challenge: leaving many feeling trapped in their current jobs,” she added.

*“The Flexibility Trap” was released by the Timewise Foundation on Monday. The survey, conducted in May of this year, had 1,000 workers doing fewer than 30 hours per week. All from the UK, the workers were in diverse industries earning the full-time annual equivalent of approximately $38,000 – 192,000.


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