Why Part Time is the New Black

It seems that just over a decade ago the cries of “greed is good” were ringing out all over the city as we amassed big houses, expensive cars and plenty of fine dining to announce that we’d made it, but the arrival of the Noughties has heralded a new, more balanced approach to life.

Work life balance is now the new war cry and the subject of a legion of new books, newspaper lift outs and magazines are being dedicated to getting it right.

The noticeable shift away from work and towards life is the big change of recent times and, in the work arena, part-time work is quickly becoming the new black.

Up until a few years ago, part time was seen as the poor relation, but now those who work in a part-time capacity are, it seems, quickly becoming the envy of the rest of us who are still chained to a 9-5, or 8-6, career.

The ABS’ recent Labour Report (released on 8th March) confirmed that part time is becoming the preferred work type with 3.1% of all job seekers looking for part-time work, as opposed to 2.4% seeking full time. And part time jobs are being created at the rate of 2 to 1 over full time, it seems.

More and more businesses, led by many of the large corporates, are restructuring to cater for more part-time positions as well, realising the pool of talent in this arena is huge, often more focussed and there for the taking.

Part time is certainly the ‘it’ work type of the new century.

We’ve seen a huge jump in both part-time job seekers and businesses wanting part-time staff as opposed to full-time staff.

And the reason?

For job seekers it’s simple – they’re tired of trying to fit a life around work. Now they’re looking to find work that fits around their lives. And for businesses, the tough economic environment has meant that people need to get smarter about their businesses expenses. In a lot of industries, a full timer isn’t required and employers are now realising that they can get just as much if not more from a part-time person – more dedication, more reliability and, in short, they make a better return on their investment.

And with part time tipping the scales at 30% of the current workforce and rising, it’s not the poor relation it once was.

White collar positions were once traditionally all full time, but that’s just not the case anymore and we see that, with the advent of technology moving to the cloud, that can only increase as more and more people can mix working from home with commuting to an office. This opens up the goldmine of talented people who have taken time away from the workforce for parenting or caring and are now looking to move back into it albeit still working around their kids or other caring duties.

And it seems that women are leading the charge into the growing part-time workforce with 75% of all part-timers being female.

The idea of part time being for the unskilled is quickly becoming a fallacy. It’s now totally acceptable, in fact enviable, to say you work part time.

It seems that, along with your Prada sunglasses, your little black dress and your Marc Jacobs handbag, part time is now de rigeur when it comes to chic.

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