In Australia, part-time work is growing at a rate twice that of full-time employment, and industry analysts predict the trend will continue for at least five more years. Could the same thing happen stateside?
“Employers and employees are both starting to favor this idea of working part-time or flexible hours,” said Naren Sivasailam to the Daily Telegraph. “It’s been driven partly by the fact that the economy is moving towards more service-based industries and away from traditional manufacturing industries, which don’t lend themselves as well to part-time work.” Sivasailam also cited technology and the 2008 financial crisis as other factors driving employers to favor part-time work.
This phenomenon doesn’t just affect the younger set. Older Australian workers are also transitioning to part-time work or phased retirement in lieu of full-blown retirement, according to Sivasailam. “There is a proportion of people who are working longer than they perhaps would have,” he explained. “Once they cross that 55-to-60 age, some of them are choosing to scale back from 40 hours a week to 20 to 25 hours.”
What could the rise of part-time work in Australia mean for Americans? Think tanks and analysts in the U.S. are currently studying employment models from other countries to propose solutions appropriate for our economic climate. The New Economics Foundation, for example, promotes a 21-hour workweek akin to the system used in Britain. And Forbes economic columnist Haydn Shaughnessy’s most recent columns explore the bright future for independent workers, consulting firms and freelancers.
If given the choice, would you opt for part-time work over a full-time position?
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