Emma Stewart MBE is co-founder of Timewise, the social business that helps employers explore the business potential of flexible working. Emma has just been named as a ‘Woman Changing the Business World’ by the Institute of Directors’ Director magazine, following a public vote.
Timewise works with 55,000 people who all want to find flexibility in their careers. Most – though not all – are women looking for work to fit with family. We match this pool of talent to employers looking for skilled, experienced candidates; and work with businesses that want to explore flexible working practice. We also share our learning with policy makers, opinion formers and employer networks. This public affairs work promotes the social and business benefits of quality part time and flexible work, and helps us shape the market for part time and flexible jobs, as we build it.
The challenges – flexible top level jobs ’hidden’ and hard to find
A recent TUC survey reports that part time workers account for a minority of executive and C- suite level jobs (6.6 per cent of chief executives and senior officials). A study we conducted with the Joseph Rowntree Foundation in 2012 found that of all vacancies openly advertised in the UK job market (both full and part time), just 3 per cent were for part time jobs offering £20,000 a year or more. We want to change this.
Connecting the skilled workers with opportunity through flexible working
People who need flexibility represent a huge pool of talent – with skills employers want and need. These are both women and men. Groups such as parents or those with caring responsibilities need jobs that offer both decent pay and hours to fit with family life. So we need to now focus on connecting the two.
Challenging outdated perceptions
For decades, the term ‘part time’ has been synonymous with ‘low level responsibility’ and ‘a perceived lack of ambition on the part of the worker. This has impacted on the type of roles that employers offer on a flexible working basis. We believe that the working world has moved on, and this needs updating.
Unique opportunities through flexible working
Forward thinking employers are quickly realising that there is a unique opportunity to shape a new kind of marketplace better fitted to real life working practice in the 21st century. In this new market, employers can hire from an exceptional talent pool, where the talent can find the right kind of fulfilling, dynamic, agile careers.
These groups are across the full spectrum from recent graduates who shun traditional careers paths and crave more social purpose in their work, through to women into senior and board level jobs who are juggling personal commitments.Organisations that embrace flexible working report higher levels of staff retention and loyalty, reduced costs of managing office space and an improved bottom line.
Each year Timewise compiles a ‘Power Part Time List’ comprising of 50 high achieving executives working right at the top of British business – on a part time or flexible basis. Last year’s list included individuals such as:
- Lesley Lynn, Managing Director, EMEA Banking at Citi, who works four days per week (two in the office, two from home);
- Sally Bridgeland, the CEO of BP’s £18bn Pension Trust, who was recruited into her role on a ‘five short days a week’ basis;
- Patrick Foley, the Chief Economist at Lloyd’s Banking Group, who works three days a week;
- Alison Lomax, Industry Head of Creative Agency Partnerships at Google, who works four days per week.
In May, we launch a fresh search for 50 new case studies for this year’s power list. If you know someone who could be a fit, or if you yourself are a ‘Power Part Timer’ please don’t be afraid to give us a call. We can make a difference by working together.