By Hassanah Rudd, Client Service Manager, Frog Recruitment
Those were the words from a friend of mine as we had coffee and our kids played. Why was she so frustrated? Well beyond being a mum to young kids (who had decided being a new leg attachment was the thing to do that day). She is looking for work.
Now normally this is where I come in…as a recruiter and all. But I’m out on the #maternityshift, so a little bit challenged to find her a contract. The thing is, as I listened to her stories of the job hunt, I got frustrated. And it wasn’t even about the recruiters who didn’t call her back, or the ATS that… well lost her, or people not actually reading her CV and cover letter before calling her..though all that did happen.
It was why she wasn’t getting anywhere. So let me paint you a picture; Educated, qualified, young, well presented, outstanding comms, energetic, experienced, hard working, dedicated project manager. With excellent CV, track record and references. She has a particular skill set in demand (I know, plus I checked out the job boards & asked around) and she can barely swing an interview…
Because she doesn’t want to work full time.
You would think that she had declared a bad case of leprosy by the way she gets a wide berth. Now I do get that some roles need to be “full time” but then again… Why? At what point did we collectively agree that you have to work the “standard” working week, unless it has been agreed on high that a particular role can be done “part time”
And why when a role comes up do we generally not look at all the options. I’ve seen roles previously thought of as F/T only become more flexible shall we say, because the person doing the role wanted too…and it’s worked. Hell I’ve just spent over 2 years doing it myself whilst delivering to a full budget.
So I have to ask, is it a lack of consulting skills on behalf of the Recruiter (internal/external/hr) to push back and well..Consult! And let’s bear in mind she is a PM so she is about delivery to the project, as long as that happens does it really matter what physical hours she is in the office?
Though I don’t believe it can be an option for only project based roles. In the past I do admit to bullying and coercing clients into taking on: Marketers, HR practitioners, Recruiters, PM’s and once a Treasury Accountant on less than the 40/37.5 week. In every case it’s worked out fine.
But then again maybe it’s about leadership to find the best possible talent and not the best possible person who has to work full time.
Is it control? Does the line manager like to have the person in those times as it gives them a sense of control. And if that’s the case do we have a bigger problem in terms of culture?
Occasionally I have ran into “well we tried it once and it didn’t work out” but by extending that logic… It’s akin to saying “well we made a bad hire once, so I’m never hiring again”
There is enourmous ROI on bringing on great talent that might work a little less than the standard hours. If you give people like my friend a shot you will get loyalty, dedication, talent that goes above and beyond..And 9 times out of 10 they will work outside the hours you are going to pay them, which brings me to cost..You will have more room in the salary budget to start with.
This isn’t just about the wasted talent of mums who REALLY want to get back to work, but the mature workforce who are exiting, wouldn’t it be great to retain some of that experience and wisdom and let people retire a little at a time?
Or the Gen X and for that matter the Gen Y, let’s face it we are never going to retire (we won’t be able to afford it) So why do we all have to work F/T in our youth years?
If people have balance in their lives they make happier employees which in turn makes more profitable organisations.
Well that’s what I think… you might disagree?