As a working mum, I can probably speak for most in that we all require a degree of flexibility in our jobs. Some mums have extra help and childcare covered off so they can concentrate on their career whilst quite a high proportion are seeking a job with less hours and flexible arrangements to enable them to help “balance” their family life.
I feel that even though as an economy we are facing tough times, organisations are becoming more aware of flexible work arrangements and there is evidence that some are reviewing their policies to reflect these changes. Businesses are coming round to the idea of flexible workers for many reasons. They can hire from a talented pool of experienced and skilled women who are eager to offer commitment and hard work for their own reasons. This can give companies stability and the input they need to grow and develop their business. Flexible workers are not as costly as full time employees and having worked like this myself previously they can often be far more productive. In addition to this, flexible employees don’t have to be permanent or fixed, they could provide a high quality project and short term stints of work as and when businesses need it.
So how do you find flexible jobs?
Well, there are some specialist recruitment companies who are dedicated to working with family friendly organisations. They offer a range of jobs across a wide spectrum, from permanent, temp, franchising, home-working and voluntary. These are a great route to see what is happening in the market place -jobs4mothers,womenlikeus and working mums
In some situations these companies may not be even reaching out to all the flexible workers which are on offer in the market. A really good place to start if you are looking close to home is your local market. If you are set on being local to home then it is worth applying to businesses “direct”. Obviously blanketing the area with your CV isn’t the best idea, however doing your research and understanding which businesses are operating in the area is.
Try researching through local papers, contacts, newsletters, adverts etc to identify a pattern of businesses which are expanding, growing or renovating. If a business has a stable headcount and product you could tailor a letter to them highlighting your skills/experience and suggesting some options of flexibility which they may potentially consider. This could be to offer one off project work, term time (school hours) or even voluntary hours per week. It shows initiative and gives you a place to demonstrate your worth. It can’t do any harm and in some cases companies need some extra help here and there but they haven’t a clue as to how to go about it. The other positive about direct applying is you are using this as a test exercise to brush up on some skills and most of all your confidence if you haven’t worked for a number of years.
If you are feeling really confident and proactive you could search/apply for jobs where they are advertised as full-time and within the recruitment process suggest flexibility if this is amongst your offering. I definitely would not suggest going through an interview and making flexibility your sole objective as this could backfire, however if you apply with a view to discussing flexible options within the role on offer it could certainly work in your favour. For example – start early and leave later, work four days in the office and the fifth day at home. One week of fixed full time hours and the next more flexible etc. They will work if the nature of the job/business allows. It is certainly worth exploring only if you are presenting some logical and viable solutions to the employer. They can only say no, or even after a period of time agree to review the working hours and tailor the jobs to be more flexible.