Money & Career

Is Part-Time Work Killing Your Career?

Over half the Australian workforce believe part time work hinders career progression but, done right, reduced hours doesn’t have to mean less success.

Part time = only partly ambitious, 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 in fact 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.

Be aware

“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.”

Be visible

“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.”

Define your role

“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.

Go the extra mile

“Stay in contact with colleagues,” says Magowan. “It might take 60 seconds to call after a meeting you missed on a day off, but the payback will be far greater.” That doesn’t mean being available at every hour of every day, particularly on your day off – but it’s worth staying on top of key events and meetings.

Be a self promoter

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.”

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