Flexible working can come with a career catch for chances of future promotion

Flexible working can come with a career catch for pay and promotion

Half of all people now work out of the office at least once a week, and more than one in four (27 per cent) every day according to data from software supplier Sage, but a new report by social business the Timewise Foundation warns that this flexibility might come at a price. It found part time and flexible workers face key barriers in terms of career agility, with nearly three in four part time workers saying they haven’t been promoted once since working part time (73 per cent), and over a fifth (22 per cent) saying they wouldn’t even expect to be. Nearly two thirds (63 per cent) believe that promotion with their current employer might be possible, but only by increasing their hours – something that’s not an option for more than a third of respondents (36 per cent) who rate part time hours as ‘crucial’ in their lives, nor a straightforward choice for the 52 per cent who state they are ‘important’ to them.

The Flexibility Trap explored what happens to the career paths of 1,000 talented and skilled people from a range of career backgrounds, earning from £20,000 to more than £100,000 (full time equivalent) after they begin working part time or flexibly.

It found just a minority of UK job vacancies – an estimated 3 per cent – are for part time roles offering £20,000 FTE or more. More than three in four respondents say this lack of good quality jobs to apply for, makes them feel trapped in their current roles (77 per cent).

Sage’s research shows that flexible working is growing in popularity, with 15 per cent of people working whilst commuting on the bus or train, 1 in 20 people up a mountain or on a beach and over half reporting that their time away from the office positively impacts productivity. Yet it seems many employers don’t see the benefits.

The Timewise Foundation co-founder Karen Mattison commented: “Work in the UK is undergoing a fundamental shift.  More than a quarter of UK workers are now part time or flexible, with most needing to fit their careers with something else in life. Yet 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: leaving many feeling trapped in their current jobs. Britain’s part time workers need to know that there are forward thinking businesses out there that do offer a future where flexibility is no inhibitor to success.

“As such, the Timewise Foundation is calling upon those pioneering companies that have already enabled key talent to progress their careers on a flexible basis, to open up and tell us about it, by nominating their most senior part time workers for the 2013 Power Part Time list.”

The Timewise Foundation’s 2013 Power Part Time list will be a roll call of 50 of the most senior part time workers in the UK. The search for the 2013 Power Part Time list is supported by Ernst & Young. Nominations open from today (8 July 2013) and close in September. A form can be obtained by visiting timewisefoundation.org.uk/our-work/power-part-time, calling 0207 633 4553 or emailing powerparttime@timewise.co.uk