Mark Denton

Fixed cost of employment is disadvantageous to part-time working

With more than 25 years in placing people in employment and trying lots of working arrangements, I think I've learned a few things to pass on.

Positive reasons for part-time: your budget only goes that far, you have an excellent fully trained, cultural fit team member. The talent pool is smaller  - be ecstatic with what you can get.

“With more than 25 years in placing people in employment and trying lots of working arrangements, I think I've learned a few things to pass on. Positive reasons for part-time, your budget only goes that far, you have an excellent fully trained, cultural fit team member. The talent pool is smaller - be ecstatic with what you can get. “

So why do part-timers cost more per hour worked? All the support costs are the same per worker irrespective of hours, e.g. man-management costs, training costs, HR costs, finance costs, I.T costs, licensing costs, office space costs (part-timers seem in the majority to want to work the same hours!). We estimate for our business that these amount to c. £20,000pa per person irrespective of hours worked.

I've heard people say part-timers are more productive in their hours and yet the evidence goes against this. They have to wade through the same volume of company information (e.g. emails) and social interactions, training hours, meetings, reviews etc. if this is 7 hours per week per person, it is 7 hours for the part-time and full-time person - before they can commence their work. It is also an untruth and a slur to say that the part-timers work harder in the remaining hours than the full-timer.

I've also heard people say that the part-timer is more flexible for coverage etc. My firsthand experience is different, people actively choose to take less money to be part-time to gain life style benefits, they are on the whole and not surprisingly unwilling to sacrifice the life style benefit and the cash to suit the business. Indeed I'd say if the business is gaining a win here, expect it to be short term and generating a level of antagonism.

I hope I've provided sufficient evidence that part-timers cost more, that there are frequent cases where the additional expense is well invested. This information is a starting point to evaluating those cases and to avoid blanket part-time policies other than each case will be reviewed on its merit/individual merit.

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