Looking for a better work-life balance in 2013?
Moving into recruitment from PR at the beginning of 2012, I was struck by the number of people looking for flexibility in their time at work. For a variety of reason many wanted to work from home, do 3 or 4 days a week, or reduce hours and make them up at more convenient times.
Many people are looking to focus on their personal life after a decade or more of giving everything to their work. For some people this is about childcare and a desire to continue successful careers without missing out on time with young children; for others it’s about following dreams which don’t necessarily pay the bills – study, creative hobbies, travel or simply gaining a balance in life which five days on and two days off does not allow.
A 2012 study by Women Like Us (the social enterprise that supports mothers who want to find work that fits with family) found that just 3% of available jobs are for part-time roles offering £20,000 or more. They found that barriers to the recruitment of new part-time members of staff had mainly developed through ‘habit and circumstance’. Employers that have had experience of recruiting part-time members of staff are very positive about the business benefits, which include cost efficiency and access to a wider candidate pool which can certainly be backed up with anecdotal evidence from my colleagues.
Despite improved IT systems, working from home is still something that is most often negotiated once established in a role. Because so many candidates are looking for flexible working, it’s an issue we always raise with our clients when discussing a role. Flexible working could open up a huge pool of talent, but many employers are unwilling to take a risk on a new employee.
Take advice from your recruitment consultant and do some research into companies that welcome and encourage flexible or part-time working. Once your foot is in the door and you have proved yourself, a request for shorter hours or one day a week working from home will be viewed much more positively.
If five days a week is simply not an option, then don’t give up hope, there are an increasing number of employers who see flexible working as a positive trend – they gain the best from their employees, save money and office space and can often gain a more experienced candidate previously beyond their budget. Let’s hope this trend continues into 2013 as more organisations feel the benefit!
Consultant, VMA Group
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