Just a few short decades ago, part time jobs were reserved for supplementary income seekers and teenagers learning the value of a dollar. But in recent years, part time jobs have become an integral part of the economy. Whether it's people trying to make ends meet or workers looking for alternative schedules, working less than 40 hours a week has become considerably more popular than in the past. Particularly because the jobs that allow part time work aren't just servers, bartenders, and burger flippers.
According to the most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics data, 77 percent of part-time workers in the U.S. are currently working fewer hours for non-economic reasons. That is 20.5 million people that are opting for more free time and less money. What is most shocking about the data is that professional jobs are considerably more prevalent than in the past. And there's a reason.
“Part-time work is sometimes associated with less professional, lower paying jobs, but, as this list indicates, that isn’t necessarily true,” said Sara Sutton Fell, founder and CEO of FlexJobs. “The opportunities for high paying part-time jobs span industries and positions, while still offering competitive salaries. The flexibility professional part-time jobs offer provides workers the opportunity to practice within their chosen profession and maintain their skills, without the time commitment of a full-time role and a massive disruption to their income.”
The reason for the increase in part time professional jobs is more than obvious. Over the last few years, nearly every study on the matter has deemed work-life balance one of the most important aspects of a good job, often behind salary. Family and free time are also typically on the list, showing that employees have spoken: they need more free time.
Will these results sway employers into changing their oppressive full-time schedule ways? Probably not. While studies have shown that employees work better and harder when they're happy, flexibility is ironically something that needs to be thoroughly planned and properly executed. And with only part time workers, how are you going to get all that planning done?
Photo: Flickr / Michael Bentley