EY+LLOYDS
Join Us
  •  

    Sarah

    “I wasn’t prepared for children to have such a detrimental effect on my career. Seeing a role advertised with flexible working options is exceedingly rare. It really is like searching for a needle in a haystack. When I look locally for flexible work, I can see few options beyond ‘dinner lady’, ‘shop assistant’ or ‘carer’. I work in marketing and have only managed to find the right kind of work twice in the past 7 years – both short term roles. I know many other mums in the same situation. I hate to see this waste.

    Parents and others who need flexibility are an untapped economic resource. We have the skills, experience and desire to work – yet the way in which employers recruit means we are often missed from the hiring process completely. If only employers would look at jobs critically and structure them according to the outputs needed, rather than defaulting to the 5 day, 9-5 model every time. Change is desperately needed.”

  •  

    Lucy

    “I am now looking for a change in career and a job where I feel like I am making a difference – but one where I am able to leave work at work and concentrate on my health and family when I am at home. This is hard! I’m leaving a £35k position that I worked so hard for, for 12 years, and am now being beaten to minimum wage admin jobs as there are people applying for them with straightforward admin experience. I will be lucky to find a role earning half what I used to. But I am determined to find something!”

  •  

    You can contribute to this page…

    If you’re looking for a part-time or flexible job, please share your story with us. We’d also love to hear from you if you’ve successfully been hired your way!

    Email us at info@hirememyway.org.uk

    We will publish your story, or views, if we feel it helps support our campaign message.

  •  

    Sean

    “After my business went into administration in the 2008 recession I quickly found myself a full time job. After a couple of years of throwing myself into my work (I was reasonably senior in one of the UK’s largest PR companies) I reached a point where I was starting to feel burned out. My wife, who had worked part-time since our children were born, wanted to go back to work full time, so we decided to swap roles. The first couple of years were very difficult.

    I don’t think I spoke to a single recruiter (in-house or consultancy) that wasn’t in some way suspicious of my motivation for wanting to have a bit more balance in my life, to spend more time with my sons before they were grown up, to be the one primarily in charge of domestic affairs so my wife could concentrate on her career.

    Expand

    “After my business went into administration in the 2008 recession I quickly found myself a full time job. After a couple of years of throwing myself into my work (I was reasonably senior in one of the UK’s largest PR companies) I reached a point where I was starting to feel burned out. My wife, who had worked part-time since our children were born, wanted to go back to work full time, so we decided to swap roles. The first couple of years were very difficult.

    I don’t think I spoke to a single recruiter (in-house or consultancy) that wasn’t in some way suspicious of my motivation for wanting to have a bit more balance in my life, to spend more time with my sons before they were grown up, to be the one primarily in charge of domestic affairs so my wife could concentrate on her career. It was very dispiriting and there were times when I was left feeling like a complete failure. There were no part-time openings for someone like me, I was repeatedly told. Employers would expect nothing less than complete availability.

    I’ve also seen the other side of this scenario. When I ran my own business (which was a PR company) I needed to hire someone part-time and put an ad in a local publication. I was inundated with applications. All from women, all of them seeking a return to work after having children, all of them very highly qualified, many of them with impeccable career histories and experience. But having taken a career break to have kids they’d found themselves locked out of the industry. It really struck me that so much talent and capability was left untapped simply because employers were reluctant to offer more flexible openings.

    These days I work part-time as a business journalist (from home) and a copywriter (one day a week in someone else’s office).”

    Collapse
  •  

    Jade

    “I am a carer for my mother who is disabled and share caring responsibilities with my father. I had to leave my old full-time job in HR because I needed to find a job with flexible start and finish times so I could be sure I could always get home in time for my father to leave for his evening shift job. I found one! It’s an interesting job at a friendly company, and my line manager is really understanding. So it can be done – don’t give up!”

  •  

    Gina

    “I have worked full time since the age of 15 and only had 6 years off raising my two children. I am now 61 years old and due to the retirement pension age being raised to 66, I still have to work, which I am very frustrated about. I have been looking for part-time or flexible work since February this year, and to date have not been successful.”

  •  

    Rachel

    I am a housing professional working for one of the country’s largest providers of social housing. I had my daughter 2 1/2 years ago and my employer was fantastic in helping me return to the organisation 3 days per week. I was even seconded into another role that was more project based – allowing me more flexibility. A few months ago I was promoted into a senior position, also taking on line management duties. I’m very lucky to have a great boss who recognises the value of being flexible and saw how I could focus myself into carrying out the role within the 3 days I was in the office. Sadly, as part of a major restructure, I am now facing redundancy. Had I been looking for a new full time job I would be confident of finding a job equal to or better than my current one. But, having looked around for the past couple of months, I am finding it almost impossible. I have seen positions I would be perfect for, however when I have called the hiring manager or HR department, I have been flatly refused because I’m unable to commit to 9 – 5 Monday – Friday.

    Expand

    I am a housing professional working for one of the country’s largest providers of social housing. I had my daughter 2 1/2 years ago and my employer was fantastic in helping me return to the organisation 3 days per week. I was even seconded into another role that was more project based – allowing me more flexibility. A few months ago I was promoted into a senior position, also taking on line management duties. I’m very lucky to have a great boss who recognises the value of being flexible and saw how I could focus myself into carrying out the role within the 3 days I was in the office. Sadly, as part of a major restructure, I am now facing redundancy. Had I been looking for a new full time job I would be confident of finding a job equal to or better than my current one. But, having looked around for the past couple of months, I am finding it almost impossible. I have seen positions I would be perfect for, however when I have called the hiring manager or HR department, I have been flatly refused because I’m unable to commit to 9 – 5 Monday – Friday. The only part-time positions I can find are very low-level that pay half of what I earn now. The beauty of my current job is I can earn a decent wage for part time hours which allows me to more than cover the childcare costs and spend valuable time with my little girl. I am fortunate that I don’t need to work full time just for the money, and I would really rather not as I’d have to send my daughter to childcare full time. I had such an awful pregnancy where I experienced life-threatening conditions and my daughter was born premature, so I feel lucky to even be here with her at all. I want to make the most of that and don’t want to be tied to full-time work. The balance I have now is fantastic as it gives me a great amount of rest away from the stresses of work and a break from a screaming toddler every so often! It means I can be a better mum and a better worker. I’m so worried about the future and possibly having to take a massive backwards-step in my career where I had previously been rapidly climbing the ladder.

    Collapse
  •  

    Fran

    “For a few years after my daughter (who is now 12) was born, I continued to work full-time in marketing agencies, but the hours were long and inflexible. It was manageable (just!) when she was at nursery full time, but when she started school, I felt strongly that I wanted her to come home once the school day had finished, so I found a part-time role, at the right level thanks to Women Like Us, and we hired an after school nanny for her 2 days a week.

    Although this meant I was able to collect her from school regularly, I found it hard to make the busy role work part-time, so eventually I took redundancy and the chance to retrain as a counsellor, something I had wanted to do for years. I worked freelance for a few years to pay my way through the course, and then I applied for my current role at the social entrepeneurship Ethos – again through Timewise Jobs – and I now work part-time and flexibly for them, and run my private counselling practice for the rest of the week. It’s been a long hard road, but I got there in the end!”

  •  

    Martin

    “I am desperate for a permanent part-time job and have been employed in the same role via a temp agency for the past six years. I am finding it impossible to convert my temporary status into a permanent position. Instead, I have a three month rolling contract that gets extended four times a year. The only reason I stay is because my line manager is very happy to let me work any two days a week that I choose (flexibility is key as my wife is a nurse, and we have two very young kids). However, my permi-temp work has made me feel anxious in my personnel life. The position I work finally finishes in September, and I am literally praying for some form of employment where I have an understanding line manager. I normally work 16 hours a week and this has been perfect in terms of work/life balance with needing to fit with my wife’s job and two small kids.”

  •  

    Jill

    I work for a large, national charity which has a flexible working policy. In December last year I decided that, at 61, and with caring responsibilities, I no longer felt able to work 5 days a week.

    I put together a strong case for how working 4 rather than 5 days would not be detrimental to the charity, and would provide opportunities for the woman I manage to take centre stage in my absence.

    Expand

    I work for a large, national charity which has a flexible working policy. In December last year I decided that, at 61, and with caring responsibilities, I no longer felt able to work 5 days a week.

    I put together a strong case for how working 4 rather than 5 days would not be detrimental to the charity, and would provide opportunities for the woman I manage to take centre stage in my absence.

    I broached the subject with my new manager on our first one to one, and followed up with a written submission (not a perfect scenario, but wanted to strike when the iron was hot).

    She agreed to a four day week (28 hours) from January on a rolling basis – so far so good. It probably helped that her staff budget had been cut, and I am therefore saving the charity money. The reality is that I often work more than 28 hours, but the day off without the London commute does make a huge difference.

    For those with a flexible working policy where they are – it can be done.

    Collapse
  •  

    Janice

    “I have over 30 years’ experience in secretarial PA/EA type roles. I love the demands and stimulation of this work but find that almost all employers think only in terms of a single-employee solution. They have never seriously considered that there might be more advantages and fewer pitfalls in having it spread across two people: complementary staff skills, moral support, brain-sharing to find solutions, holiday cover, sudden emergency cover for increased work-load/illness, high levels of productivity from fit, well-rested staff: the positives are endless. Against this is a fear of … what? Information not getting passed on/actioned? There are lots of ways of ensuring communication – electronic note systems, emails, work calendar update agendas – it can be a robust system. Managers would have much better support and work cover by introducing flexibility at every level. Come on, CEOs, try it!”

  •  

    Name withheld

    “I do not want the disabled relative I care for to know that looking for part-time work affects my job prospects negatively.”

  •  

    Fran

    “For a few years after my daughter (who is now 12) was born, I continued to work full-time in marketing agencies, but the hours were long and inflexible. It was manageable (just!) when she was at nursery full time, but when she started school, I felt strongly that I wanted her to come home once the school day had finished, so I found a part-time role, at the right level thanks to Women Like Us, and we hired an after school nanny for her 2 days a week. Although this meant I was able to collect her from school regularly, I found it hard to make the busy role work part-time, so eventually I took redundancy and the chance to retrain as a counsellor, something I had wanted to do for years. I worked freelance for a few years to pay my way through the course, and then I applied for my current role at the social entrepeneurship Ethos – again through Timewise Jobs – and I now work part-time and flexibly for them, and run my private counselling practice for the rest of the week. It’s been a long hard road, but I got there in the end!”

  •  

    Kirit

    “I have a background in technology, change and consultancy. I have worked full time (freelance) for many years as a project or programme manager or in operations management. I want to do more voluntary work so decided to look for part-time work – but it has not been successful, so far. I am often told I am over qualified for the part-time roles I am applying for. I believe I have much to offer any commercial, public or non profit organisation and would welcome the chance to apply my skills and experience – just on a part-time basis.”

  •  

    Gladys

    “I’m a freelancer in the Film Industry and lately I have found it very difficult to maintain doing what I do, firstly, because it’s very hard working 14  hour days, and, most of all, it’s about who you know. Also, younger people are getting the jobs, therefore pushing us middle age out. This is totally understandable, but what I find even harder is trying to do temp work to fill in gaps. I have extensive knowledge and highly transferable skills that no one seems to notice. Or, when I go for an interview and seems it went well – I get upset to find out someone else got it because I was missing something. It seems that I’m always missing something! It would be great to find suitable temp part time work in relevant fields. Anyway, I’ve decided to return to my dormant company and in between spans of not working I’m mentoring and I’m at the business start-up stage.

    But we should keep focused on people over 40 losing jobs, or changing career paths, and help them make the transition smoothly.”

  •  

    Deborah

    “I returned to work 13 years ago on a part-time (3 days per week) basis when my daughter was young. It suited me fantastically but also the business I worked for got great experience at a fraction of the usual cost. Over the years, I have been promoted into new and exciting roles. I believe that this demonstrates that the balance has made more productive and skilful at work. And that is why, as an HR professional, I have also been able to champion the concept of flexible working for many working parents, whilst the same time retaining fantastically talented people in the organisation. My daughter is growing up now and needs me to be her mum in different ways but I intend to carry on supporting working parents through those initial years of their children’s lives.  It makes sense for businesses as well as society!”

     

  •  

    Stuart

    “I am a management accountant and, three years ago, I was working for an international examination board. As part of a restructure, my role was to be merged with that of a colleague at a similar level, and we were both put ‘at risk’. Both of us were returning from our respective periods of paternity and maternity leave. I took redundancy and spent some time with my growing family, while my colleague took on the newly merged responsibilities and sought full time childcare to support this. At the time, I was struck by the irony (if not futility) of the situation– why had we not both been offered the option of reduced hours, perhaps by way of a job share?”

  •  

    Becky

    “I had a career as a producer before I had children. I tried to go back to a similar role full time, but was simply too much. There was no possibility of doing that role part-time – and I could not find any other jobs advertised with flexibility. I have ended up doing a zero hours sales job while my younger daughter settles back at school as hours are flexible, but I am now out of the loop in my previous industry as things have moved on. I feel I can’t go back.”

  •  

    Christine

    “I am a single mother with a 12 year old son on the autistic spectrum. Studying whilst working full time was taxing and eventually led to a very long break from the labour market. My career and skills are somewhat at a standstill and I’d like to change that – but I need part-time work in order to do so.”

  •  

    Nikita

    “I’ve worked 4 days a week since my second child was born, 15 years ago. I’ve moved to a new firm twice, and kept my part-time contract each time. I’m a solicitor, so it’s not exactly a flexible-friendly career. So, how did I do it? I just applied for full-time roles and when I got the job offer I would say “By the way, I don’t work Fridays.” Before the employer recovered from the shock, I would say “It works fine. Court sessions for my type of cases are never held on Fridays and I can handle the workload. I’ve never had problems before.” I think you’ve sometimes just got to be bold to get what you want.”

  •  

    Luke

    “I’m in my twenties, and have been looking for work for several months of a part-time or flexible nature to work around my other commitments such as running a social enterprise and volunteering. I’m keen to gain professional experience to support these projects, having graduated only a couple of years ago, but am struggling to find opportunities. I have begun applying for full time roles as well to boost my chances of finding long-term employment – but it’s not what I want.”

  •  

    Emma

    “I’ve spent 3 years plus looking for a part-time role in my field. I’ve taken jobs because they are part-time rather than what I am trained to do – and found myself very bored very quickly. I want to work flexible hours as I have young children in primary school, so I want to work and be there for them – but I also want challenging work that makes the most of my skills.”

  •  

    Mike

    I have always worked. After school, at weekends, in university holiday jobs – followed by full employment for 40 years. My experience is in managing IT projects and programmes. I am now retired but not ready to give up work. Now that I have the opportunity, I have decided to ‘give-back’ to those less fortunate and to that end I spend 2 days a week helping small charities manage their IT on a voluntary basis. Therefore, I’m looking for a part-time job opportunity where I can use my skills and experience and also allow me to continue my voluntary roles. I have not even got to interview stage so far – despite many applications for jobs that I believe I would be very well suited for.”

  •  

    Olivia

    “I am a senior communications and branding professional with high-level experience gained in three countries in leading corporates and a UK charity. I had to take a career break for medical reasons and am eager to get back into the working world. However I’m finding it extremely difficult to find part-time work that matches my level of seniority. I know I am not alone in this respect and I am convinced that employers are missing out on tapping into a wealth of talent and experience by not hiring skilled professionals for part-time roles and job shares.”

     

  •  

    Dimple

    “I am currently looking for part-time jobs within finance. I want to work part-time because of health issues. I feel my job search is not going so well as most employers want full-time staff. The very few jobs that might arise would be temporary or would offer very low wages/ salary. Or the duties of the role would be very restricted. There is not scope for progression. Therefore, looking for jobs is very difficult.”

  •  

    Sarah

    “As a middle manager in a blue chip multinational, I had seen many of my colleagues over the years coming back from maternity leave being forced into a “part time” role, which actually meant squeezing the same number of hours in less days for less money, their career stalled because they were not able to cram in the expected amount of overtime. Because of that, and the long commute, when I also got pregnant, I decided to leave the company and take the opportunity for a career break.

    A couple of years later, when I started looking for a job again, I wasn’t prepared for how difficult it would be to find a part time role at a reasonable level, at least in my line of business – marketing. I had a great CV and plenty of recruiters contacting me for full time roles and what they called “part time roles” which were basically full time short term contracts, but talk about working 3 days a week or even job sharing and I got laughed at on more than one occasion.

    When I had given up on finding employment on my terms, a job appeared on Timewise Jobs for a small company I had never heard of before. It sounded too good to be true. 20 hours a week, flexible, mostly working from home and at a reasonable level of responsibility.

    Expand

    “As a middle manager in a blue chip multinational, I had seen many of my colleagues over the years coming back from maternity leave being forced into a “part time” role, which actually meant squeezing the same number of hours in less days for less money, their career stalled because they were not able to cram in the expected amount of overtime. Because of that, and the long commute, when I also got pregnant, I decided to leave the company and take the opportunity for a career break.

    A couple of years later, when I started looking for a job again, I wasn’t prepared for how difficult it would be to find a part time role at a reasonable level, at least in my line of business – marketing. I had a great CV and plenty of recruiters contacting me for full time roles and what they called “part time roles” which were basically full time short term contracts, but talk about working 3 days a week or even job sharing and I got laughed at on more than one occasion.

    When I had given up on finding employment on my terms, a job appeared on Timewise Jobs for a small company I had never heard of before. It sounded too good to be true. 20 hours a week, flexible, mostly working from home and at a reasonable level of responsibility.

    I went for it and found out that everyone in the company works part time because, in the words of one of the founders, “you get a better calibre of people as no-one offers part time jobs. And they are more loyal too as they have a better life balance!”.

    I have been there six months and I’ve just recruited a new part time addition to the marketing team (also through Timewise Jobs). I couldn’t be happier, but I wish I could not be just the exception to the rule.”

    Collapse
This site uses cookies to enhance your experience. By continuing to the site you accept their use. More info in our cookies policy.     ACCEPT