Are you one of the 2.2m men in the UK who works part-time? Do you ever describe yourself as part-time, or feel a certain embarrassment when doing so? Even though 9 in 10 of us want or need to work flexibly in some way, with the numbers roughly split evenly between men and women in terms of ‘who wants it’ – there is definitely a stigma that holds men back from admitting they work ‘less’, or from home.
Even if we achieve more, by doing so.
And it’s not just for low-paid workers, either. More than half a million higher income earners in the UK work part-time – but can you name a single one? We’re working to change that, by celebrating senior people who work flexibly with the Timewise Power 50.
The story behind our search for senior flexible success
In 2012 the social business and flexible working consultancy Timewise set out to put names to faces – by profiling and championing 50 varied and diverse stories of part-time and flexible working.
We wanted to show that it was happening everywhere – in all types of businesses and jobs. For all kinds of reasons (including no reason at all). That the UK’s part-timers count among their numbers CEOs, astrophysicists and graphic designers. Bankers, lawyers, headteachers and more.
We put a call out on our website for role models and waited to see if anyone would notice it – and were stunned to see people enter in their hundreds. They included Katie Bickerstaffe, then UKI CEO of FTSE 250 Dixons Carphone, who was working a 4 day/wk. The Chief Economist at the Bank of England, a man called Patrick Foley who worked a 3 day/wk balancing work with Iron Man training and more.
We realised this was a conversation people had been waiting to have. We profiled people by their successes first, their working patterns second and their reasons for needing flex third. It opened up the door on a slightly British taboo – talking about how you fit or blend your work and home life together. It encouraged people to talk honestly about the challenges they face in life, as they start families, or start caring for relatives, or get sick themselves, or launch side hustles – or do all these things at once. With 5 generations now in work all together at the same time, for the first time ever – it’s vital we allow these discussions, and normalise them.
Flexible working should be for everyone – not just mums
Flexibility has traditionally been seen as a concession for a minority of workers – mainly mums. But we now know it is anything but. It’s the way work is going, as businesses operate across markets and tech enables us to work anywhere, at any time. In 2017 Timewise polled more than 3K UK workers via ComRes. We found that 87 per cent of full time employees alone said they had some flexibility in work already – or wanted some in their next job. And the numbers were similar for men (84%) as for women (91%) A quiet revolution in work has already happened – and now flexibility is becoming the standard of a good modern workplace.
Timewise co-founder Karen Mattison MBE says: “For years, part-time work in particular has been synonymous with low paid jobs and a lack of ambition. It’s been seen as a feminised way to work – ‘choosing the mummy track’. And yet behind closed office doors, 1 in 4 UK employees now work part-time, with thousands more flexing around the edges. We build a Power List each year to prove that the world has changed, and to show business what’s possible, when you embrace a more flexible way of working.”
Finding male flexible success stories for this year’s awards
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As part of National Work Life Week we’re publishing the best (and worst) industries for dads when it comes to flexible working. This is previously unpublished data from our Millennial Dad at Work research programme with over 2000 working father’s across the UK. Construction, Professional services and Retail are leading the way while some others still have a long way to go. Link in bio for full tables. #nationalworklifeweek #dads #dadsofinstagram #dadsatwork #father #fatherhood
This year marks our 8th search for the Timewise Power 50. The judging panel is a prestigious panel, consisting of business leaders including Notonthehighstreet’s Sophie Cornish and the BBC’s Sally Bundock. The winners will be featured by Management Today magazine, online.
And this year, we want as many men to come forward as possible. To be part-time and proud. To flex and shout about it. Only when we can separate the need for flexible working from gendered arguments, will we move to a place where we can progress, for all.
We are looking for trailblazers to champion. Are you one of them? Or do you know someone who is If so please see this link and make your short nomination by Monday 4 November, 2020. https://timewise.co.uk/power-50/about-power-50/
The Timewise Power 50 is run by social enterprise and flexibility consultants Timewise. It is supported by EY, Dixons Carphone, Lloyds Banking Group & Diageo. Nominations require around 600 words and are entirely free to make.
About the author
Timewise is a social business & flexible working consultancy, operating a frequently cited research-hub. Representing 85.000 people looking for flexible jobs, Timewise helps employers to design more flexible career paths.