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Part-time workers feel 'trapped' in their jobs

More than three-quarters of UK workers feel trapped in their jobs, due to too few opportunities for promotion and inflexible roles, a report published today has found.

The Flexibility Trap report by the Timewise Foundation, a flexible working organisation, found part-time workers don't expect promotions.

Almost three in four part-time workers interviewed said they haven't been promoted once since working part-time, and more than a fifth (22%) said they wouldn't even expect to be, the survey of 1,000 part-time professionals found.

The report also found almost two-thirds (63%) of part-time workers believe promotion with their employer will only be possible if they increase their hours.

It showed only a minority (3%) of UK job vacancies are for part-time roles offering £20,000 or more. More than three-in-four (77%) of respondents said this lack of quality jobs opportunities makes them feel trapped.

Seven in 10 of respondents said they had downgraded the salary and level of job they applied for, with the average salary sacrifice at £6,730.

Almost all (99%) said they wished employers would make it clear when advertising a job whether it can be worked part-time or flexibly, and there was uncertainty about at when it was right to ask.

The Timewise Foundation co-founder Karen Mattison said work in the UK is undergoing a fundamental shift, with more than a quarter of UK workers needing to fit their careers around their lives.

"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," she said.

"Britain's part-time workers need to know there are forward thinking businesses out there, that do not offer a future where flexibility is no inhibitor to success."

Sarah Jackson, chief executive of Working Families said: "This research shows there is a clear business case for change. Flexible working is a means to an end - delivering highly productive, engaged and motivated workers. Unless flexible workers are given equal opportunities for advancing their careers, the business benefits will be undermined.

"We should not be asking women or men to choose between a work life balance and a career – it is high time they had both."

The Timewise Foundation said the influence of part-time and flexible workers in the economy is rising. One in four Britain's works 30 hours or less, with the vast majority (5.2 million) doing so by choice, whether to fit work with family or other commitments.