Looking for a part-time job can be tricky. Here, Karen Mattison from Timewise Jobs gives her top tips for finding a part-time job that works for you.
Many women decide to work part-time if they want to continue working after having children.
The usual route is to ask your existing employer if you can reduce your hours. They will have to consider your request properly and it is worth asking your HR team about the process before you make your request.
But what if your employer says no? And what if you’ve taken an extended maternity break so you need to find a job with a new employer?
Good part-time jobs can be tricky to find, and the more senior your job, the harder it can get.
Recent research suggests that amongst advertised job vacancies with salaries over £20k, only 5% are part-time. Above £35k, this drops to 3%.
Whilst you might face a challenging job hunt, it’s encouraging to know that the situation is improving steadily. Organisations like Timewise and Working Families are trying to change the jobs market by persuading more employers to open up to flexibility from day one of a new hire.
It’s going to be a long haul, but in the meantime there are ways and means to get the part-time job you want…
Tip 1: Search on ‘part-time’ jobsites
You can also try regular jobsites and filter for part-time jobs.
Tip 2: Consider stretching to four days a week
Asking for three days a week can be too big a drop from full time; but, for an employer, four days may feel possible.
For many women, the ideal part-time arrangement is three days a week.
But if you can stretch to four days, you can apply for full-time jobs and ask to work reduced hours, with employers who are open to flexible working.
Tip 3: Look out for employers who are open to ‘flexible hiring’
Timewise Jobs has a section about employers who are open to ‘flexible hiring’ (i.e. they are open to requests to work flexibly from day one of a new hire). And Working Mums has a list of employers with a strong flexible working ethos.
You can also do your own research on an employer’s openness to flexible working – check out the careers section of their website, chase down and chat to people who already work for them, or simply call their HR department.
Tip 4: Take Timewise Jobs’ part-time quiz
When you’re searching for a part-time job, a little expert advice can help.
A good starting place is Timewise Jobs’ interactive quiz on ‘What are my chances of getting a part-time job’, which gives you personal feedback and practical tips based on your answers.
Encouraging better part-time roles
Competition is high in the part-time job market and sadly many women accept jobs below their skill level in order to get the flexibility they want.
That’s why NCT is working with organisations like Timewise to encourage employers to adopt more family-friendly working patterns. You can find more information on our website.
This page was last reviewed in March 2019, amended November 2023
Our support line offers practical and emotional support with feeding your baby and general enquiries for parents, members and volunteers: 0300 330 0700.
You might find attending one of our NCT New Baby courses helpful as they give you the opportunity to explore different approaches to important parenting issues with a qualified group leader and other new parents in your area.
Working Families is the UK’s national charity for working parents and carers. The charity's mission is to remove the barriers that people with caring responsibilities face in the workplace. You can call their free legal advice helpline on 0300 012 0312 or use the online contact form on this page.
ACAS offers advice on flexible working and the Code of Practice on handling requests. You can call their helpline on 0300 123 1100.
Gov.uk information on flexible working and application forms.
Maternity Action has information on maternity rights and you can call their helpline on helpline 0845 600 8533.