Timewise, a social enterprise, released a significant report delving into the landscape of part-time working in the UK post-pandemic.

The comprehensive study aims to redefine perceptions surrounding part-time roles and assess the barriers faced by part-time workers.

With part-time employees constituting a quarter of the UK workforce, accounting for 8 million individuals, the report sheds light on the prevalent stereotypes attached to part-time roles. Historically, part-time employment has often been synonymous with diminished ambition or junior roles. However, the report findings challenge this perception.

Part-Time Work: Breaking the Stereotype

The study, encompassing insights from 4,000 UK-based workers, reveals a noteworthy shift in perceptions. Contrary to the stereotype, the majority now view part-time workers as equally ambitious as their full-time counterparts, outnumbering those who disagree significantly (50 per cent versus 23 per cent). However, a prevailing sentiment remains that part-time roles impede career advancement, with 46 per cent of workers in agreement.

The report also delineates distinctive patterns across various demographic groups. Women, accounting for 38 per cent of part-time employees, often opt for part-time roles to fulfill caregiving responsibilities, a trend notably less observed among men. Additionally, there’s a noteworthy disparity in perceptions, with men more likely to view part-time workers as less ambitious than their full-time counterparts.

Industry Perspectives and Recommendations

Furthermore, the report highlights industry perspectives, indicating that while managers exhibit higher openness to considering part-time working in the future, they also perceive it as a barrier to career progression (53 per cent agree). Timewise’s recommendations propose fostering diverse and flexible work structures, incorporating part-time options into equality strategies, and emphasising job-sharing opportunities for senior roles to enhance career development.

Dr Sarah Dauncey, lead researcher, underscores the need for businesses to adapt to a more dynamic and inclusive approach to working hours, promoting greater flexibility aligned with varied life stages. Cath Sermon from Phoenix Group emphasises the importance of embracing part-time work in practice and challenging perceptions to create a truly inclusive and flexible work environment.

The report urges employers to take heed of these insights to cultivate an environment where flexibility and inclusivity are intrinsic to the modern workforce, fostering an environment conducive to diverse working arrangements.