Here’s why part time & work from home jobs are the new normal

As technology continues its rapid pace, part-time and work from home jobs are becoming the modern professionals new normal.

Ellen Grealish is a co-founder and co-owner of FlexProfessionals — a flexible staffing company specializing in part-time, project-based, and work from home job placements.

Since its inception in 2010, the company has grown considerably – most likely due to a growing subsection of professionals prioritizing time over money.

We caught up with Ellen for insights on this growing trend and tips on how the modern professional can navigate the coming autonomous workplace. Here’s what she shared:

Why are more and more professionals looking for part time and work from home jobs?

There are a growing number of individuals, from various stages of life, who specifically want and value part-time and work from home jobs as they raise children, take care of an ailing parent, volunteer or simply desire to scale back as they get closer to retirement.

They are experienced and confident and typically value flexibility more than a title or compensation package. Historically, ‘moms’ have comprised the greatest percentage of candidates seeking part-time. While this is still the case, we are seeing more and more people in other phases of their lives seeking part-time work. Who are these people? Let’s take a look:

Re-Entry and Working Moms

There are thousands of highly talented women who wish to re-enter the workforce in a part-time way or scale back from the 9-5. They want to stay engaged in the workforce but desire the flexibility to be home when their children arrive home from school.

Baby Boomers

74 percent of adults now plan to work past retirement age — 63 percent part-time and 11 percent full-time (Gallup Poll). As life expectancy increases, so too does a desire to stay engaged among this growing demographic. In a part-time role, Boomers can serve as mentors, passing down a wealth of critical knowledge and experience to younger workers.

Caregivers 

1 in 2 employees expect to provide elder care in the next 5 years (National Study of Changing Workforce). Both men and women, young and old, can find themselves in this situation. Allowing a work schedule that reduces the stress involved in caregiving not only helps attract new employees but reduces the likelihood that your current ones who fall in this growing category will leave.

Millennials

Yes, even some millennials desire part-time! A reduced schedule allows this group to earn a steady income yet gives them the flexibility to pursue a passion, volunteer, or open their own business. Given that this group represents the largest percentage of the workforce (Pew Research), companies need to think of creative ways to attract millennials who tend to prioritize flexible work schedules over pay.

What industries/companies are more likely to offer part time work?

Smaller companies seem to be most open to hiring part-time employees. Small businesses tend to be more budget sensitive and don’t always have the resources to attract an experienced professional, especially when competing against the larger companies in an area like DC. In addition, smaller businesses sometimes don’t have the work to justify a full-time employee but still need someone skilled and committed to their business.

As a result, the option of hiring an experienced professional into a part-time role is very appealing. In terms of industries, we have seen businesses across a variety of industries successfully adopt a part-time model into their hiring strategy, including government contracting, technology, finance, marketing, legal and more.

What are some realistic expectations job seekers should have in regards to their job search?

Part-time roles are in high demand by job seekers. As a result, it can take longer to find these opportunities as compared to traditional 9-5 positions. Reaching out to your personal and professional networks, creating a professional profile on LinkedIn, ad researching industries and job positions that are of most interest to you can help minimize the amount of time it takes to find that perfect part-time job.

In general, what are some interesting stats you can share about part time work and work from home jobs?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 20 million Americans are working less than 35 hours a week for non-economic reasons, which means they are choosing to work part time. Two-thirds of these 20 million are working part-time because they have family obligations, are attending school or are semi-retired.

In addition, according to a PEW Research study, a strong majority of all working mothers (62%) say they would prefer to work part time. Only 37% of working moms would prefer to work full time.

What are some realistic expectations job seekers should have in regards to their part time job?

Pay Rate

Often, the hourly rate associated with a part-time job is less than the hourly rate if it were a full-time role. Part-time roles are in high-demand, so there are many job seekers who view flexibility as part of their compensation and will work at very competitive rates and no benefits, in exchange for the opportunity to work part-time. In addition, those you have a significant gap in their resume should not necessarily expect the same pay rate that they earned upon leaving the workforce. The larger the gap, the less likely they can re-enter the workforce into the same level of seniority that they previously had. The good news is that we often see our candidates renegotiate their salary and level of responsibility once they are hired and can prove their value.

Flexibility goes both ways

If your employer is supportive of a part-time schedule, then you should expect that on occasion, you may need to work outside your set hours, just like full-time employees may do. If there is a work crisis or a big event, etc. and the business need dictates that you be available, it is important that you make arrangements to be at work. While this should always be the exception versus the norm, it is important that your employer knows they can rely on you when needed. In order for the part-time model to be successful, both the employer and employee need to be flexible.

Technology

For those re-entering the workforce after a gap, expect that there will be an expectation that you have a certain familiarity with technology. Obviously the level of comfort and kinds of technology are dependent upon the job itself, but with most roles, it will be expected that you are comfortable using MS Office, video conferencing, file sharing, like Google Drive or Dropbox) email/on-line scheduling, LinkedIn, etc.

Other than Flexprofessionals, what are some untapped resources job seekers should know about?

There are a number of websites, including FlexJobs, that assist people in their search for finding part-time and flexible jobs. Here’s where to start:

  • 9Lives for Women, this is a comprehensive directory of services for finding flexible work
  • Women Work Life, another good directory of services for finding flexible work
  • UpWork, the largest connection platform for freelancers

Ursula Lauriston is the Editor-in-Chief of Capitol Standard Magazine – DC’s fastest growing niche brand and lifestyle publication. A dynamic speaker and syndicated columnist, she has been featured in HuffPost, Black Enterprise, The Vault, and more. Find Ursula on Twitter @Urdiggy.

This article first appeared on Capitol Standard.