Should you take a pay cut when you work flexibly?

When it comes to the gender pay gap, full-time working women on average earned 9% less than men last year. And for part-time workers, the gap was twice as big. Find out why this shouldn’t be the case.

As a flexible and part-time recruiter, Ten2Two would always say there’s no excuse for taking a pay cut just because you are moving from a full-time role to a flexible one.

Whether you’re moving internally to a flexible role or going for a new part-time job, you are still the qualified employee you’ve always been. Your skills haven’t depleted, so why should your pay packet? You have a real talent to offer the company and anyone employing you will recognise that value.

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Four factors you need to take into consideration

When you’re going after a new part-time or flexible role, you should earn the equivalent pro-rata full-time salary, regardless of gender. If you’re not, there may be a few factors that comes into play as to why. Here are four of them.

1) The size of the company and their budgets

Generally, it’s our experience that SMEs are more willing to recruit flexibly because they have the agility to change processes more rapidly than larger corporates. As a result, they are often more open to providing flexible opportunities – but this can mean they are working to smaller margins, and, as a result, the salary they can offer may be smaller too.

2) You’re taking a lower level role

Stick to your market value if you’re going for a similar role, but if you’re going for a role that uses fewer of your skills than before, it’s possible you may have to take a pay cut. Be realistic – work out what your role is valued at by checking salary search engines and then look at your personal costs. Work out whether the pay cut is viable and go from there.

3) You haven’t asked for more

When it comes to asking for more money, women are often more willing to compromise rather than push salary requests. If you’re going after a flexible role, make sure you know what salary is on offer. A good recruiter will be able to tell you this at the outset – including what the top end of the budget is.

If you’re going direct, note that not all job adverts will include salary. Keep in mind the figure you want, don’t be afraid to state your requirements and give yourself wiggle room in case you have to negotiate.

4) You’re changing career

If you’ve decided to change your career direction entirely, say from events to bookkeeping, this is the time when you’re likely to move downwards. Salaries are based on skills and experience so if you’re new to a function with little experience then, in effect, you’re starting at the bottom of that career path and should expect a salary in line with this.

Flexible working is not just a question of priorities

Deborah O’Sullivan, Managing Partner at Ten2Two, says:

“We see women take pay cuts all the time in order to fulfil flexible working requirements. For these workers, their work-life balance is their main priority and salary often drops down the list behind working hours and location. Interestingly, we’ve found that men are more likely to push salary expectations rather than settle for a pay cut.

A job has a market value so there’s absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t have a salary in mind and go for it. Be prepared to negotiate and don’t feel second best for wanting to work flexibly. Many employers love flexible workers and the experience, commitment and vigour they bring.”

Read more flexible working advice

Need more help to work flexibly (and keep your career on track)? We recommend reading these articles:

If you’d like to find a new flexible career role today, you can register with your local Ten2Two office here. Or if you’re an employer seeking part-time or flexible career professionals, you can get in touch with Ten2Two here

Photo by Eye for Ebony