About the High Time Campaign
The purpose of the High Time campaign is to change organisational thinking about senior level jobs. We want to encourage employers to eliminate outmoded, ineffective working practices - which are often deeply embedded in organisational cultures and which result in the myth you can either have a career or a balanced life.
Despite massive changes in the nature of work, and the way it can be done, organisational practices developed half a century ago frequently remain unquestioned. This is particularly true when it comes to progressing to senior levels. A lack of flexibility along the way, and the perception that senior jobs require sacrificing any semblance of work-life balance means those with caring responsibilities often step away from the challenge. Valuable skills are lost and talent pools are reduced. Specifically, there's a massive impact on the progression of women to senior levels.
According to the latest available government figures for corporate employment:
Among Managers, Directors and other Senior Officials, more than twice as many men as women are working full-time. For part-time positions the reverse is true with more than twice as many women as men. The overall proportion of employees working part-time in this category is just under nine per cent.
In Professional Occupations, around 30 per cent more men than women work full-time. Only one in six part-time employees is male and the overall proportion of employees working part-time in Professional Occupations is 17.6 per cent.
For Associate Professional and Technical Occupations, 60% of full-time employees are male, while in the part-time category four out of five employees are female.
These figures suggest women are likely to benefit significantly from access to flexible working arrangements as they climb the corporate ladder.
Mounting research evidence for good work-life balance confirms its importance for physical and mental wellbeing, as well as workplace engagement and productivity. We also know that a good work-life balance is important to Generation X (about to take the reins of leadership in many organisations) and to Generation Y.
It's High Time for employers to re-think their attitudes towards employees who seek a better balance.
There are considerable benefits to providing flexible, full-time working options at senior levels.
- More support for middle and senior management women. Transparency in flexible working arrangements at senior levels will provide new role models. Women in particular are more likely to include themselves in the talent pool for senior jobs when they can see a way to balance work with other commitments. It will lead to better retention of high-potential women and increase an employer's chances of attracting highly skilled returners with caring responsibilities (for example, women with STEM skills). New role models can also challenge unconscious beliefs about what a committed employee looks like.
- The evidence suggests that Gen X men - those in the 35 to 50 age group - are also looking for more balance and more time with their families.
- Flexibility offers employees more control which tends to lead to better health outcomes, less stress and more engagement.
- Concentrating on what's achieved rather than the number of hours worked - moving to a results oriented work environment - provides focus for what's important and improves productivity. It offers an opportunity to review organisational working practices, to challenge what's outmoded, ineffective, but often deeply entrenched; and to reorganise for smart (agile) working.
- It can enhance an organisation's reputation by endorsing diversity messages and demonstrating commitment to being an Employer of Choice.
- It can support the corporate Green Agenda. For example, both home working and compressed hours reduce the number of commuter journeys.
What can employers do?
- Review senior level jobs in your organisation. Consider whether they can be worked differently to achieve results more efficiently while enabling better work-life balance.
- Adopt a more strategic and inclusive approach to balanced working. Assess your corporate culture and ensure it's fully supportive of work-life balance for all employees. See here for resources to help.
- Get involved in the High Time campaign and sponsor activities. Contact us for more details.