Make sure your part-time job benefits your career

Part-time employment is a great way to have a fulfilling work life and still have time for yourself. However, many people don’t pursue this type of work because they think it might impact or delay their career growth.

In fact, a study conducted by SEEK found that 58% of Australians believed that working part-time was career-limiting.

It also found that part-time workers are more likely to be female (62% vs 38% males), lower income (83% earn less than $42K annually) and metro-based (58%).

While some people don’t work part-time out of choice (13%), those that do say their main reason for doing so is for work-life balance (30%). For the majority of people this means working flexible hours and ensuring they have time to perform additional duties at home.

This sounds ideal for anyone who has ever complained that there aren’t enough hours in the day, however one in four (23%) part-time workers surveyed by SEEK said they have felt discriminated against for working part-time. This was significantly higher for females (30%) than it was for males (12%).

But part-time work doesn’t have to have negative consequences for you or your career. Wayne Baker, Chief Operations Officer at Symmetry HR, says there are many ways to make sure your part-time job benefits your career.

  • Have a positive effect. First of all, it’s important to have a positive impact at work. “Ensure you’re not impacting others’ workloads negatively,” Baker says. “Plan your time so you’re saving time for others and adding value.”This can also help if you’re feeling disadvantaged due to working part-time. 25% of part-time workers surveyed by SEEK thought they were discriminated against because they weren’t perceived to be as available as their full-time colleagues. Another 22% thought they were discriminated against because of a perceived disconnection to the rest of the team. That’s why it’s important to “get engaged with your colleagues and involve yourself,” Baker says. “You can be part-time by hours but not by involvement.”
  • Utilise your skills. Baker also recommends remembering why you’re there. “Narrow the focus on your role and ensure the reason for your appointment you are providing specific value for.” If you’re employed as a graphic designer but find yourself spending a lot of time on administration tasks, have a chat with your boss to find a way to focus on utilising your specific skill set. After all, that’s what they’re paying you for!
  • Work smarter, not harder. Having a proactive mindset helps. Baker adds, Ensure you are always ahead of the game by doing more with greater speed when you can.” Always be adding value, and you’ll make both yourself and your boss happy.Then when the big wins roll in, promote them! “When a project is complete ensure all relevant stakeholders are notified, coupled with outcome and value to the business,” says Baker. This reminds your boss how much you can achieve in a shorter amount of time.
  • Jobs that work well part-time. A range of jobs work well on a part-time basis, particularly those that “can be easily measured by efficiency or financially” or that require “technical skills that are in high demand”, as they provide capabilities to the business that aren’t easily replaced.Examples include:
  • IT
  • Quality assurance
  • Technical finance
  • Highly difficult forklift roles
  • Aged care
  • Business development
  • Accounting support

What’s most important is that your part-time job is fulfilling for you, otherwise you’ll be less likely to stick it out. Baker says the key to this is balance. “If you can keep a healthy balance, then the key wheels in your life will be turning at a rate that you and all the people in your life will be content with.”

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