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Is it harder for part-timers to progress?

More than a quarter of the UK workforce is currently engaged in part-time work - and yet only 3 per cent of jobs advertised are for part-time roles with a full-time equivalent (FTE) salary of £20,000 or more.

Commentators have drawn two main conclusions from this surprising disparity. The first is that many people get into part-time work by reducing hours on an existing full-time position. Secondly, once in a part-time role, it can be difficult for these employees to progress in their careers, either by moving up the ladder or getting an alternative job.

The latter conclusion is borne out in research by the Timewise Foundation. In a survey of 1,000 part-timers with an FTE of more than £20,000, more than seven out of ten said they had not had a promotion since becoming part-time, and one in five said they did not expect to be promoted. Two-thirds thought the only way to get on in their careers was by increasing their hours.

Sarah Jackson, chief executive of Working Families, said:

"We should not be asking women or men to choose between a work-life balance and a career - it is high time they had both.

"Flexible working is a means to an end - delivering highly productive, engaged and motivated workers. Unless flexible workers are given equal opportunities for advancing their careers, the business benefits will be undermined."

Acas provides detailed information about Part-time workers and has published the Advisory booklet - Flexible working and work-life balance explaining many issues surrounding flexible working. Acas practical training on Work/life balance and particularly Flexible working can bring you and your organisation up to speed with all the latest legislation in this area.

Visit the Acas Training Courses, Workshops and Projects page for more information.

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