There are now an estimated 680,000 people working formally part-time who are earning a minimum of £40,000 full-time equivalent, according to flexibility expert Timewise.
The announcement coincided with the release of the Power Part Time list; a roll-call of the UK’s top 50 men and women who work in senior roles on less than full-time hours.
The 2015 list also includes a record number of men, with 11 out of the 50 spots held by men. Across the UK’s labour market 74% of part-time workers are female (6,151,000) and 26% are male (2,198,000).
Two HR directors made the list: Louise Farnworth, UK HR director for National Grid, and Claire Fox, global HR director for Save The Children International.
“Working part-time allows me to fully embrace my whole life,” Fox told HR magazine. “I’m thrilled to be on the list. It’s a great initiative that highlights the array of senior roles being worked part-time, and helps to dispel the myth that only junior roles can be worked on a part-time basis.”
Fox works a four-day week. “The role was advertised as full-time, but during the recruitment process we talked about what I was ideally looking for. My line manager was open to the idea [of part-time] so we decided to start a six-month trial of this pattern,” she explained.
“Line managers should think that offering flexible working keeps their potential talent pool as open as possible,” Fox added. “Managers can be worried about offering flexible working, but they should remember they can always say no to requests.
“They should not be put off by the idea that if they accept someone’s request it will ‘open the floodgates’. But if those floodgates do open then that’s what their talent pool is looking for.”
EY UK & Ireland chief operating officer Lynn Rattigan said that the list shows senior roles can be worked flexibly successfully. “The conversation is now about organisations taking the step to them and the value they can bring,” she said.
“At EY we advertise 100% of our roles as open to flexibility, which helps us to attract the very best talent.
“[Flexibility] is not only reserved for women, senior leaders or long-standing employees; it is open to all from the moment they join. Flexible working has gone beyond a ‘nice to have’. It is becoming a point of envy among UK workers and a source of competitive advantage.”