by Paula on August 21, 2013

A number of recruitment posts have popped up in my Twitter feed over the last few days, notably today from Sustrans and Business West.

A real variety of jobs – admin, management, marketing – a range of salaries, and a diverse set of skills required. Yet the one noticeable similarity is that all of these jobs are exactly 37.5 hours per week long.

I find it incredible that despite changes in technology, a growth in population, high unemployment and greater choice in life, the idea of jobs being shoe-horned into a rigid number of hours per week is still upon us.

So how do people arrive at jobs this length?

  1. A department or team is stretched & working long hours, missing deadlines & needing help.
  2. Management don’t think there’s yet enough additional work to employ a full-time person so they wait until things are at crisis point.
  3. There’s enough additional work for part of a person so management look around to see what else could be done, or taken over by this new person to make a nice “whole” job and then they recruit.

I’ve seen many a job created from bits and pieces (i.e. potential part-time jobs) to make a full-time job. The range of skills required across this one job is then so diverse and at so many different levels that finding one person that fits all requirements is a struggle.

What are the alternatives?

Part-time roles still have a stigma attached of being non-committed or “setting a precedent to other staff and we wouldn’t want them to think they could be part-time too?” Umm, why not?

Let’s take a company who needs someone to carry out the business marketing activities.  Within this role there is:-

  • What you do now
  • What you’d like to do if you had the time
  • Things that would be good for you to do that you hadn’t thought of

Many companies will wait until they think there is probably a full time job there, find a salary that other people seem to pay for this sort of role, and then find a person whose marketing expertise means they fit that salary model.

What else could they do?

  • Advertise that there is a marketing need within the company and invite applications
  • Meet potential candidates and talk through what they could offer
  • Have a budget for the role but not tied to number of hours.

You may find that a £25k budget buys you an averagely skilled marketing person full time.

Or you could buy half the time of the calibre of person who would command £50k full time, thus bringing a higher level of skill into your business than you would have imagined.

To sum up, try looking at things differently.

When you have a need for additional help, don’t start with 37.5 hours and build the role and the salary round that. Try looking at it the other way up.

  1. What does the business need from this individual?
  2. What is our budget for the role?
  3. Let’s see who and what our budget can buy and work the hours round that.

Good luck and do let me know how you get on!


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