How to find a decent part-time marketing job

Christine Khor, managing director of marketing recruitment specialist Chorus Executive, answers marketers’ questions about work and careers. This time, she delves into the transforming realm of part-time jobs.  

 

Q: There doesn’t seem to be a lot of part-time work out there, even though I constantly read about companies becoming ‘more flexible’. Why can’t I find a decent part-time role?

 

Although it may not seem like it, companies are actually making a concerted effort to become more

flexible, offering part-time opportunities, work-from-home arrangements and negotiable hours in an attempt to give employees better work-life balance and improve staff retention.

The biggest problem for people seeking part-time opportunities comes down to supply and demand. The bulk of part-time roles are created by companies for existing employees in order to retain them. As there are usually more people who want part-time opportunities than there are actual roles, companies rarely need to advertise for part-time vacancies. Coupled with this shortage is an increasing demand for flexible opportunities for men, with more men considering their work-life balance options than ever before.

The reality of creating part-time opportunities is a complex scenario for businesses.

First, some roles are just not made to be part-time. Management and leadership roles in particular are difficult to make flexible, as managers normally have a team depending on their stable presence. Sales roles are difficult because of targets, budgets and the simple fact that salespeople need to be contactable for their customers. Roles that require travelling are also difficult to reduce to part-time.

Additionally, part-time or job-share arrangements can often double the hard costs of a position. Businesses may have to foot the bill for two computers and two phones, take two people instead of one to a conference, and so on. Recruiting a new part-time employee into the business may also lengthen training time, which also impacts cost.

Another common issue I come across is a perception that productivity may take a blow as a part-time employee is not on site as much as other employees, may miss vital communication and require additional time to play catch-up on organisational matters.

There is also a wrongly held perception that part-time employees are not as committed as full-time employees, that perhaps they are spreading themselves too thinly between multiple part-time roles, or that their priority of work-life balance makes them less dedicated to a company. Some people believe that part-time workers will not feel as deep an attachment to an organisation as full-timers because they spend less time interacting inside the company’s culture and will therefore be more likely to leave.

Smart companies know that this is not true, that commitment should be measured by the quality of work and overall performance of an employee, rather than the hours they put in at the office. These companies know how to involve part-timers in their culture and create the same loyalty that full-timers experience. Again, it takes effort and commitment from the company to achieve this.

For part-time arrangements to work there needs to be flexibility on the side of both the business and the employee. It is not as simple as cutting a job in half and expecting it to work.

If you’re looking for part-time work, it is crucial to manage your own expectations. If you currently manage a team or work in a fast-paced sales environment, your chances of securing part-time work are lower because of the nature of these roles.

It was only four years ago, however, that companies would not even consider offering part-time employment. As the war for talent increases, we are beginning to see more businesses willing to employ someone four days a week in order to attract the right talent.

The perception of part-time roles is slowly changing for the better. I believe we are in a state of transition, where companies are trying to increase their flexibility while maintaining productivity and, for certain businesses, it will be a case of experimenting to see what works.

Christine Khor
BY Christine Khor ON 6 November 2014
Christine Khor is the managing director of Chorus Executive, specialists in talent management and recruitment services for sales, marketing and communications.