Is Part-Time Work Killing Your Career?

Part time = part-timer = bludger, right? Traditionally part time jobs have long been associated with low pay, low status and a lack of commitment. But that hasn’t stopped more Australians opting to work fewer hours, whether through choice or circumstance and, despite the stigma, 1.1 million of us want to switch to part time work before we retire. So, does dropping the number of hours you work mean the end of your career? Absolutely not – you just have to put in some full time effort to get full time rewards.


“You can’t change someone’s mindset if they resent your part time role,” says career strategist Kelly Magowan, also a part time career coach ( “But be mindful you’re not impacting on their workload.” Plan your time so you don’t have to rely on co-workers to complete tasks and offer them support when you have any down time.


“Promote your achievements at work, attend meetings and contribute in them, email interesting industry information to your colleagues,” says author Karen Miles ( “This all maintains your visibility and your continuity with work and clients.”


“Volunteer to take on a project, such as a weekly newsletter, that might involve an hour or two at home,” says Magowan. “And stay in contact with colleagues. It might take 60 seconds to call after a meeting you missed on a day off, but the pay back will be far greater.” Miles agrees. “It’s a simple thing, but check your email regularly and respond. It’s helpful and reassuring to your team to know you’re available even when you’re not there every day.


Meet your manager regularly to showcase your achievements and let them know you’re keen to progress. If you’re not great at promoting yourself Magowan recommends teaming up with an equally humble co-worker. “Get a wing man – suggest you work together to promote each others’ achievements in the office and at functions. It’s often easier to talk up someone other than yourself.”


“Part time employees need to step back from a full time role perspective. Be clear about which of the activities you do that add the most value to the organisation and your own personal development,” says Lynn Kraus, Ernst & Young’s Managing Partner Sydney, who got her first senior leadership role as a part timer.

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