Part-time work can boost the UK economy and put economically inactive people back to work

Part-time work can boost the economy and put economically inactive people back to work

Credit: Cranfield University

A major new research report on the flexible leave scheme from Cranfield University’s School of Management urges government and employers to invest in an expansion of part-time work, with experts saying it could boost national GDP .

The report “Part-time work after the pandemic”, authored by Clare Kelliher, professor of work and organization at Cranfield University, Dr Charlotte Gascoigne and Dr Pierre Walthery, examined the experience of companies that have used the flexible leave option as the country came out of lockdown. Flexible leave has allowed organizations to bring back part-time employees, with the government supplementing their salaries.

The main recommendation of the report is that the government and employers should invest in a pilot project of part-time work to capitalize on experiences with flexible leave and encourage openness to part-time work. Experimentation and innovation in the workplace should be encouraged to help integrate new ways of working, share best practices and attract and retain talent.

Flex leave experience could bring people back to work

The researchers found that the UK has a pool of newfound expertise in part-time work due to the success of the flexible leave scheme. With around a fifth of people of working age classified as economically inactive, such as people with caring responsibilities, people with disabilities and older workers, this knowledge could be used to bring them back into the labor market.

Along with increased awareness of part-time work and knowledge of how to offer it effectively, there is a growing demand for more part-time jobs. No less than a quarter of full-time employees say they would like to work part-time. This increase is partly due to the cost of living crisis, as people seek additional jobs to supplement their income.

But Cranfield’s research also found that post-pandemic employers believe people want to work fewer hours to achieve a better work-life balance.

Other findings from the report include:

  • 40% of those who had used the flexible leave scheme said line managers are now better able to manage part-time work effectively
  • Just over 40% of those who had used the flexible leave scheme said it had made their supervisors more open to part-time work
  • Part-time work remains a gender issue. It is seen by many employers as something that women, and especially mothers, are likely to ask for, but there is little evidence to support the assumption that demand for part-time work is low in the workforce. predominantly male work.
  • Many employers are more concerned about hybrid working and increased work from home than hours-related issues
  • Labor shortages encourage openness to part-time work among employers

A unique experience to rely on

Lead author Professor Clare Kelliher said: “Flexible leave was a unique experiment in part-time work and it is an experience that many employers and employees have learned a lot from by putting it into practice. It It is essential that we do not lose this knowledge or the drive to innovate in the workplace – employers should now look to leverage what they have learned to attract and retain talent.

“The world of work is going through unprecedented change with the shift to hybrid working and events like the Great Resignation. Part-time work offers employers and employees a way to navigate the upheaval successfully and thrive in the future. .

“The government rightly wants to see the economy grow. Investigating part-time work and encouraging its widespread use where appropriate could bring several million people currently out of work back into the labor market and stimulate the economy to a when it is desperately needed.”

Part-time work, a “real path to growth”

Dr Charlotte Gascoigne, lead researcher for the project, added: “Many organizations are missing out on the enormous benefits that part-time work can bring. The experience of using the flexible leave scheme has demonstrated the benefits of practical trials in changing mindsets. It is important to encourage this kind of innovation by setting up a formal, funded pilot project covering a range of job types and industry sectors, perhaps modeled on the recent four-week trial days. evaluate the costs and benefits of part-time work in different circumstances.

“Too many people are currently excluded from the labor market and the whole country suffers from the lack of talent of those with family responsibilities, the experience and expertise of older workers and the skills of people with disabilities and the problems of long-term health. Part-time work provides an effective path back to work for many people and a real path to growth for government and the economy more broadly.”

Former Business Secretary and Visiting Professor at Cranfield University, Jo Swinson, said: “Employees and employers can find that workplace practices and culture are changing rapidly as a result of the experience of the pandemic. One-size-fits-all work models no longer make sense – offering part-time work is one of the important ways employers attract and retain talented staff. This insightful research should be read carefully by anyone interested in the future of work – I urge employers and government to act on its recommendations to embrace the economic benefits that part-time work can bring.”

Provided by Cranfield University

Quote: Part-time work can boost the UK economy and get economically inactive people back to work (2023, January 18) Retrieved January 18, 2023 from https://phys.org/news/2023-01-part-time- boost-uk-economy-economics.html

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