It is sad that in today’s society there are many women who have been fortunate enough to have long and successful careers, but now that they are looking for a more conducive pace of working life they seem unable to have it. Perhaps this is because only 6% of quality jobs come with an opportunity to work flexibly. Perhaps not?
This is not a sexist article, rather an observation. Many companies and organisations are really missing out on a fantastic pool of talent and experience. Ladies, and it seems it is the female sex rather than the males who, having had successful, high-profile, very well-paid careers, often paying the price by working long, unsociable hours, travelling all over the world, attending endless meetings, conferences and training programmes and quite often bringing up children to boot, have now become grandparents or have simply decided to take stock of their lives and have a more life/work balance – after all they deserve it!
These ladies are now over the 100-hour working week and the associated issues and are now ready to have more time for themselves and their families but are not ready to give up completely.
These women still want to be stretched and challenged, and clearly a junior part-time role will leave them unsatisfied. In the UK alone, there are 1.5 million people in a job that they are over qualified for. But why is this problem happening? Why do so many of these fabulous females struggle so much?
Culturally in the UK, only people who work full-time are seen as being seriously ambitious, you can’t possibly be working part-time and want to do well. Some of the most common themes for employers not offering a role are:
- Fear – This person is better than me, if I offer her a role I will probably lose my job to her
- Financial assumptions – Why would this person want to take a huge pay cut?
- Ignorance – What an earth does someone who earns £80k a year do? I can’t ask that otherwise I will look silly. I can’t lose face.
- Jealousy – How the mighty have fallen, going from travelling all over the world and being massively responsible to this kind of role?!
- Power – I would never be able to manage a person with this level of experience
- Ridicule – Previously a career woman and now a grandmother wanting to spend time with the children
- Disbelief – There is no way that this person could do this kind of role in just part-time hours.
A recent study carried out by experts in Japan on more than 6,500 people over the age of 40 actually found that a 3-day week keeps people sharp and focused on their role, and ultimately more productive too.
What is most shocking is just how thoughtless so many of these companies are being and it really happens, all the time.
These women have amazing skills and experience to deliver a fantastic service to these businesses and they really do want to offer their knowledge for the benefit of others.
We are under no illusion that men have also had similar experiences for similar reasons but the majority of men either do not wish to make a career change or where the gender gap in employment comes in, don’t have the same issues.
The great news for Johnson Underwood though is that we have these people on our books and we know their value and what they are worth to the right company. We will find them a role which enables them to fulfil their career wish-list – but only on a part-time basis!