38% of voluntary sector employees are currently working part time (compared to the 27% national average) and this percentage is increasing. Why are not for profit organisations increasingly choosing to employ staff on a part-time basis and how can you take advantage of this trend?
Typical part time workers
Part time staff are those who fewer hours per week than a full time employee. Jobs are generally classified as part time if they cover fewer than 30 or 35 hours per week.
There is a growing pool of jobseekers who are specifically looking for part time work, particularly women with young children wanting a job they can fit around childcare. Typical part-timers also include the semi-retired, students balancing work with study and professionals looking to spend some time freelancing or volunteering.
Make cost savings
Obviously, employing part time staff helps to keep costs down in areas where you don’t yet need full time cover, particularly for smaller charities. Employing a part timer to help out full time staff can also help save on overtime costs and reduce staff stress and absenteeism.
Using part time employees can also give your organisation greater flexibility to cover busy periods or areas of growth.
Bring in new skills
Hiring a part time employee can also add real value to your organisation, as you can look at more senior staff then you could otherwise afford. These employees have often had a variety of jobs and can bring more knowledge and experience to your organisation and are used to handling stress and juggling lots of different tasks.
Employers often combine specialist skills in order to create one full time vacancy, such as fundraising and marketing or finance and IT. However, it can be better to hire two part time specialists, rather than one full time employee who has to wear two different hats.
Part timers can also be used to bring in a specific skill currently lacking in your current employees. This enables your organisation to grow without necessarily investing a substantial amount of money.
Widen your pool of candidates
Recruiting for part time staff has another big advantage of giving you a wider pool of candidates. Part time roles are still greatly in demand, as people wanting to work part time greatly outnumber the jobs available, meaning you have your pick of candidates.
This is particularly true when hiring for positions where good candidates are in short supply. If you’re unable to find suitably qualified candidates at the right salary, extending your search to part timers can give you access to a huge army of well qualified people looking for flexible work.
Offering the option to work part time also allows you to retain talented staff, eg after maternity leave.
A rewarding side effect of employing part time staff is that it can help boost morale, productiveness and retention. Part timers usually value their jobs greatly and combined with the increased job satisfaction that flexible working traditionally brings, this is reflected in their productivity. In fact, it is not uncommon for part-time workers to do as much in their shorter day or week than a full-time worker on the same staff.
Part timers also tend to fit the rest of their life in the time that they are not at work, so require less time off for dentist’s or doctor’s appointments and have lower absenteeism and sickness rates than full time employees.
Young part timers, such as students, can bring energy and enthusiasm to an organisation, as well as a willingness to learn and take on new tasks and responsibilities.
Employing part time staff also helps to demonstrate that your organisation has a diverse workforce and ethical employment practices. This is particularly important for charities that champion those sectors of society which have a high percentage of potential part time workers, eg those dealing with women’s rights, parenting or ageism.
Recruiting for part time staff
The next time you are recruiting for a job requiring a high level of skill but with a low salary, or for one spanning several disciplines, consider employing one or more part timer instead of a full time employee. Even if you do decide to advertise the role as full time, don’t automatically discount CVs from part time candidates, as they might be just the solution your organisation needs.
Unlike some recruitment consultancies, who don’t like recruiting for part-time positions as it results in lower fees for them, TPP are always happy to fill part-time roles and always encourage our clients to consider what option will give them the best value for money. In fact, 13% of TPP’s own workforce are part time employees.