The last employment figures that the Office for National Statistics announced that of the 236,000 new jobs, about 60% of these are part-time. For those who wanted a full-time position, part-time work isn’t exactly the best news. It’s certainly better than nothing, but a take-home package of half what you were previously on, isn’t particularly wonderful.
Though much of this has arisen out of need – the squeeze on household finances following pay freezes for many, on the back of allowance cuts and rising prices – plenty of people are turning to part-time work in a more positive way. For some, it can be liberating – they enjoy getting back into work after a hiatus, or if their partner was the main bread-earner, they enjoy having a little bit more cash overall than they might have had in the first place.
Some are using part-time work, teamed with a qualification to get where they really want to go, faster. Some of those are even managing to gain experience in the sector that they want to work in, whilst qualifying for it too.
However you approach part-time work, for whichever reason you do, it’s best to be sure that you’re making the most of your skills, so that if the opportunity for a full-time position arises, and you have the time, you’re first in line for the nomination.
If you’re looking to study alongside your work, then you should investigate where the best courses are, and whether they’re affiliated with any local businesses. If they’re within a reasonable range of where you live, then getting a place at the institution, and glad-handing the employees at, say, the university employment fairs, is a really good idea. If you can’t travel to your course, then investigate options for online learning – the Open University is known for its successful long-distance learning models.
If you’re qualified, but have been out of the loop for some time, it might be worth getting in touch with those in the sector you want to move back into. You could arrange for a couple of days work experience, or even land a little freelance work, if they’re swamped. This demonstrates your interest, and allows for employers to test-drive you, before they make the commitment.
If you’re unsure of what part-time work you might be qualified for, or want to do, then it’s a really good idea to talk it through with a careers advisor. They’ll have some good advice on what you’re ready to do right now, and what you might be ready to do in a few months, with a couple of additions to your CV.
Part-time roles can even mean holding multiple part-time positions, so that your take-home from each adds up to a full-time salary. This is a great idea if you have the energy – and if your jobs aren’t too far away from one another. It means you can either build up a great deal of experience in one area, and differentiate it slightly, or you can put your eggs in two baskets and hold two very different jobs – a great move if you’re not sure about which direction you want to eventually take.
Part-time work can even allow you to earn a little money if you’re intent on starting your own business. If you’re savvy, you can get work in the area you want to build into, and get yourself some invaluable contacts and maybe even a promise of a partnership. You can see how industry-insiders operate and learn from both their successes and failures.
If you want to talk to someone about getting back into part-time work, getting qualified, picking institutions or choosing a sector to focus on, then the National Careers Service would be a great first stop. Jobs sites won’t be of that much help, and you need to get a good plan in place first. The National Careers Service can look at your CV, advise you on the next steps to take and even sketch out a plan of action with you, working on the skills you think need the most attention. Watch their latest video, drop by their Twitter feed, here, for tips, or give them a call for some more in-depth help.