More men choose to work part-time, study reveals

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A recent survey detects first signs of greater trend towards more men choosing to restore work-life balance by working less hours. Photo: Shutterstock

A growing number of men are expected to opt to work part-time amid a impressive shift in employment patterns, according to a report published on Wednesday by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES).

The report forecasts a 20 percent increase in the number of part-time male workers by 2024, with a rise of only seven percent for part-time female workers. For full-time workers, it forecasts an increase of seven percent for women but only three percent for men over the same period.

Flexibility is becoming attractive to men who are trying to balance their family and work life.

Lesley Giles, research director at UKCES told the Guardian:

“The increase in men working flexible hours has been catalysed by the right to shared parental leave, but seems to be gaining traction. Coupled with other changes, like the growth of jobs in sectors traditionally dominated by women, this could represent a real change in the way people work and the way we understand gender roles in the labour market.

“While part-time work is most common in low-paid professions and is largely dominated by women, this report shows the first signs of that trend changing.”

Employment growth is estimated to be particularly strong in the professional services, IT and other highly skilled occupations. There will be an expected two million jobs added to these sectors over the next 10 years.

With the government’s shared parental leave policy created a year ago, the report highlights the contrast between gender priorities. The men in professional or managerial roles now want to spend more time focusing on family life while the women in similar roles are becoming more career-driven.

Despite the projected increase in men working part-time, overall the female labour force is expected to expand faster, reflecting the growing number of women entering the workforce and the rising pension age for women.

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