More men set to take control of their working hours

Friday 15 April 2016

Over the past 60 years or so, the role of men in the UK has changed significantly. Back then, they tended to be the main breadwinner of the family, leaving their wife to look after the home and children.

Since then, the number of women in employment has increased dramatically, and it's no longer unusual for them to be a family's primary earner.

As a result, men have found themselves with greater options for how they want to work, especially since the introduction of shared parental leave last year, as well as flexible working policies throughout the country.

Now, a new report from the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) entitled Working Futures has looked at how men in Britain want to be working in the future, finding that more males than ever want to work part-time so they can spend more time with their loved ones.

This indicates that contracting, freelancing and other flexible working options are becoming increasingly popular among both genders, with the UKCES predicting that there will be a 20 per cent rise in the number of men switching to part-time work over the next ten years.

At the same time, the proportion of women opting to work on a part-time basis is only expected to increase by seven per cent, highlighting a significant shift in the way men's roles are viewed, both at home and at work.

In contrast, it was found that the number of women taking on full-time roles is estimated to increase by seven per cent over the next decade, in comparison to just three per cent for men.

The report also predicted that there will be a 25 per cent increase in the number of males in management roles moving to part-time work between now and 2024, demonstrating the popularity of flexible working.

What's more, this data shows that more men are enjoying the opportunity to take control of their professional lives so they can spend more time with their partners and children.

It also suggests that any stigma that has previously surrounded flexible working has disappeared - a theory mirrored by figures from the ONS that show some 4.6 million people in the UK are now self-employed.

Lesley Giles, deputy director at the UKCES, commented: "While part-time work is most common in low-paid professions and is largely dominated by women, this report shows the first signs of that trend changing.

"The increase in men working flexible hours has been catalysed by the right to shared parental leave, but seems to be gaining traction. Couple with other changes, like the growth in jobs in sectors traditionally dominated by women, this could represent a real change in the way people work and the way we understand gender roles in the labour market."

By Victoria McDonnell

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