Many people are opting to find part-time work these days. Parents want or need to spend more time with their children; students need to balance work and school; and would-be retirees aren’t ready to give up their careers just yet. When you’re unemployed, a part-time job can be your chance to get back into working life.
Part-time work is booming in the UK and across Europe, according to statistics from research organisation Eurofound. With 26.1 per cent (up from 24.6 per cent in 1999), the UK has one of the highest ratio of part-time to full -time workers in the EU. In Ireland the increase in part-time work has been particularly steep, rising from 16.4 per cent a decade ago to 21.2 per cent in 2009 – a jump of almost 30 per cent.
Here are Britain’s most popular part-time jobs from a range of industries that are often in demand and offer flexible schedules (job information is from Next Step).
What the job is: Workers in retail stores help customers and play an important role in making their shopping experience enjoyable. You could work in all kinds of retail outlets, including supermarkets, clothing retailers and department stores. Most employers will be more interested in your ‘people skills’ and positive attitude than your formal qualifications. However, you will be expected to have a reasonable standard of maths, as you will be handling cash and checking stock levels.
What the hours are: Part-time work is very common in retail companies and you may work a shift pattern.
Customer service jobs
What the job is: Working in customer service, it is your job to make sure that customers’ needs and expectations are satisfied. You advise customers by telephone, e-mail or face-to-face, handling customer enquiries and any complaints. Again, your people skills will be very important for this role.
What the hours are: Shift work including evenings and weekends is common in the retail, leisure and contact centre industries.
What the job is: If you’re looking for a part-time job within the hotel industry, there are many options. You could work as a receptionist, as a room attendant, or you could work in the restaurant in the kitchen or service area. For the work of a receptionist you will need a good standard of general education and possibly some GCSEs. There are also many jobs in the hospitality industry that don’t require any qualification, but a great advantage is always previous experience.
What the hours are: You would usually work shifts, which could include evenings, nights, weekends and public holidays. Part-time work is often available. Many hotel jobs in recreation areas are also seasonal, for summer or winter only.
Data entry jobs
What the job is: As a data entry clerk you update, maintain and retrieve information held on computer systems. You also transfer information from paper-based records to computer files. Data entry work is often combined with customer service assistant and contact centre operator roles. You do not always need qualifications to work as a data entry clerk, although employers may prefer you to have GCSEs (grades A-C) or equivalent in English and maths.
What the hours are: Part-time work and temporary contracts are often available — you would usually work in rotating shifts.
What the job is: As an administrative assistant, it would be your job to deal with the day-to-day office work for your employer. Entry requirements can vary widely between employers. Some may prefer you to have GCSEs including maths and English, but others may test your keyboard, filing and telephone skills instead of asking for qualifications.
What the hours are: Flexitime, part-time work, job sharing and temporary work are widely available.
What the job is: Accounts clerks (also known as finance clerks or bookkeepers) keep financial records and help to prepare accounts in all types of business. You will find it helpful to have previous experience of office work. Computer experience is also useful, particularly in using spreadsheet and database packages like Microsoft Excel and Access.
What the hours are: Accounting companies typically work standard office hours, Monday to Friday.
What the job is: Bar staff serve drinks in pubs, clubs, wine bars, café bars and hotels. You may also create cocktails for customers and you would be responsible for keeping the bar area clean and well stocked. You will not usually need any qualifications to start work as a bar person. An outgoing, pleasant and helpful manner is usually considered more important than qualifications. You may need a good general standard of education, and some large pub and bar chains will consider your ability to take relevant qualifications
What the hours are: You are likely to work shifts including evenings, weekends and public holidays.
Call centre jobs
What the job is: Call centre or contact centre operators answer enquiries from customers by telephone and email, and also possibly by text messaging, fax and post. Employers usually look for people with personal qualities like confidence and a good telephone manner. You should have a reasonable standard of literacy and basic maths. It’s also a good entry-level job that helps you gain work experience.
What the hours are: Call centre companies often offer flexible working patterns, sometimes on a shift system.