We’re told top talent is scarce to find at the moment. As a flexible recruiter, we have lots of brilliant professional talent on our books. But not everyone can find the part-time employment or flexibility they’re seeking as they care for children or ageing parents.

1. Going self-employed to find flexibility

For those working mums seeking part-time jobs, and finding it a tough act to get into, it’s no surprise many turn to self-employment as their main way to keep the balls juggling in the air. We’re certainly hearing that employers are in the market for short-term contracts as the future continues to be uncertain for UK business.

If you’re able to go freelance or self-employed, it’s an attractive option where school holidays are concerned. Not only that, but when the school plays or assemblies crop up, you’re able to plan your hours and be there without feeling like you’re asking your boss for another ‘favour’. It’s not just for mums, either. Dads are increasingly seeking flexibility like this.

2. Looking at the long-term picture

Many working mums seeking part-time jobs often start their own businesses, as we know. It helps to fill a gap of time while children are very young and often sleeping indiscriminately. But if the business is far removed from your original line of work, and you find that at some point later on, you want to get back into that work, it’s not always the easy option after all.

The brilliant book for returners, ‘She’s Back, explores this in further detail. And we’re glad to see that. Because, while the initial years of child rearing can be tougher than any paid job you’ll ever do, they don’t last forever. The book suggests working mothers ‘play the long game’.

3.Talk to a flexible recruiter

If you’re considering your career options after starting a family, self-employment isn’t necessarily the only option on the table. More and more flexible recruiters like Ten2Two are opening up as the flexible working revolution gains traction. Yet not all recruiters are created equally.

Ten2Two has probably been going the longest out of any of them – it’s eleven years now – and our role is specifically to recruit for flexible professional jobs that are local. Register with us today and we’ll be more than happy to tell you about professional roles that are suited to your skills and experience.

4. Think wage negotiation

A tough market brings other employment concerns, like wage negotiation. The self-employed professionals we know are often being asked to reduce their hourly or day rates. This can hugely affect confidence, forcing the contractor to feel a lack of self-worth or recognition.

When you work at home by yourself, this isn’t so great. But hold your nerve – if you’re being asked to earn less than you did ten years’ ago, there’s something wrong. Say no and you won’t look back – other work usually turns up. Say yes, and it could get sticky, particularly if you face other obstacles down the line.

5. Can you work from home?

When you’re self-employed, there’s a strong chance you’ll be working from home – which can be some people’s dream, but it can also bring fresh challenges. Yes, you can get up on the washing by putting a load on as you have a tea break. But some people find it hard to focus at home and others miss the companionship of having colleagues to talk to.

It can also make certain parts of a job more challenging, depending on what you do. Others find the time more productive generally without having to do a long commute. It may require some thought and this is something Ten2Two also offers employers consultation on.

Still not sure whether to go self-employed?

If you’re not sure whether to go self-employed, take heart. More and more employers are seeing the benefits of flexible workers, and we’re slowly seeing a shift towards part-time senior briefs as employers get great skills for less than a full-time wage.

Ultimately, self-employment isn’t the only option on the table for returning or working mums seeking part-time jobs. It might sound cheesy, but it’s best to always take your time making your decision and stay true to yourself.


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