- Employees who involuntarily work part time expect to eventually work full time, according to Indeed's analysis of data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. According to the job platform, 15.5% of the labor force is working part time — down from an 17.8% peak during the Great Recession — and even some of those who choose to work that schedule don't intend to do so for the rest of their career.
- The survey also found that of the involuntary part-time workers polled, 56% said they worked full time before taking their part-time positions, and 32% weren't employed at all. When asked how they became part-time workers, most said they couldn't find a full-time position. Just 19% chose part-time work before deciding they would like to shift to full-time work, and 11% said their employer cut their hours from full time to part time.
- In light of those findings, Indeed suggested that employers, particularly those who rely on part-timers, think about how to retain workers who want to transition to full-time status — perhaps, for example, upping their hours or making part-time work more desirable by offering flexible schedules.
Employers that want to retain part-time workers but can't yet offer them full-time work may look to other benefits to improve their employee value propositions.
As Indeed noted, flexible scheduling can go a long way. Especially as holiday hiring heats up, employers are looking for temporary workers, many of whom will recent part-time schedules. These workers may value flexibility over pay, according to a report by Bluecrew and Toluna. That finding is supported by research from the University of Michigan and California State University Channel Islands that concluded workers without flexible schedules are less happy and more likely to quit their jobs.
Employees also report that they value pay and meaningful work. Workers who understand how their work advances a business' goals tend to be more engaged and stay longer; in fact, those who find their work meaningful stay on the job 7.4 months longer than other employees, according to 2018 research from BetterUp.
Employers also are increasingly offering traditional benefits to part-time workers. Lidl, for example, recently joined the list of companies that now offer medical benefits to part-time employees, an investment that may be worthwhile in the competition for talent in an employee-driven market.