The Institute for Fiscal Studies has just issued a report stating that men on low pay are four times more likely to be working part-time than in the 1990s. It shows that 1 in 5 men aged from 25 to 55 in low paid jobs are now working part-time. Twenty years ago it was 1 in 20.
This has been portrayed in the media as bad news, implying that these people would prefer to have full-time jobs. But this may not be true. Many of these men are seeking a better work-life balance and want to work flexibly. Some are now taking on the main responsibility for child care whilst their partners continue their careers.
The demand for flexible working continues to grow. A recent survey by the ILM claims that 74% of UK employees want a more flexible working culture and 53% of them are considering moving jobs unless things change. The research also highlights a growing demand among employees for a greater say in business decisions, with around two thirds of survey respondents claiming they want to have more of an influence at work.
Another change that has been highlighted recently is the increase in older workers. The number of people working in their eighties and nineties has doubled in five years. Many of these are in part-time work, either supplementing their pension or just keeping active.
These reports all point to a changing labour market. Leaders and managers need to keep up with these changes and not assume that full-time work is the norm. As the ILM report states “Rigid structures, siloed working and overly complex hierarchies are deeply unpopular amongst today’s workers. Employees say they want to work in more relaxed and flexible environments, yet many find themselves stuck in rigid and controlled workplaces.”