10 Benefits of Part-Time Jobs (and 10 Drawbacks)

Part-time work: yay or nay?

Reviewed by Chris Leitch

The pros and cons of part-time jobs

In today’s fast-paced world, part-time jobs have become more than just a gig; they are a lifestyle choice.

Whether you’re a student looking to gain valuable work experience or someone seeking flexibility, part-time employment offers a compelling array of advantages and disadvantages.

In this article, we will delve into the intricacies of part-time jobs, examining the pros and cons that come with this employment arrangement, helping you to figure out if it’s the right fit for you.

Let’s dig right in!

What is a part-time job?

Part-time jobs are a form of employment where individuals work for a reduced number of hours compared to full-time positions; a part-time job is anything less than 35 hours per week.

Jobs with part-time hours vary across industries, and while they’re traditionally associated with areas such as retail and hospitality, today’s changing nature of work means there is potential for part-time work in all sectors.

The pros of a part-time job

While full-time work might be seen as the most secure and well-paid choice of employment, there are advantages and disadvantages to this type of working arrangement. And for some individuals, at certain times of life, part-time work may be a more attractive option.

Why would you go part time? Some of the key advantages are outlined below.

1. You can work flexible hours

Part-time jobs often offer flexible schedules, such as split shifts, school hours or weekend and evening work. This allows individuals to tailor their work hours to accommodate personal responsibilities and interests outside of work.

It’s for this reason that part-time jobs are popular with students or professionals with caring responsibilities, allowing them to strike a balance between work and personal life while still contributing to the workforce.

2. You maintain a healthy work–life balance

Balancing long hours at work with personal commitments is often a juggle and can lead to stress, burnout and health concerns.

With fewer hours at work and a more flexible schedule, part-time workers have the potential for greater work–life balance. They may have more time for hobbies, exercise and friends, contributing to their overall wellbeing.

3. You can manage your wellbeing better

Part-time work can provide individuals dealing with health concerns the flexibility to manage their wellbeing more effectively. It allows for necessary medical appointments, treatment sessions and recovery periods, without the pressure of a full-time workload, all while keeping income coming in.

Flexible scheduling can allow the individual to increase their working hours gradually as their health improves.

4. You develop your skill set

Part-time roles provide opportunities for skill development and enhancement. Employees can gain practical experience, especially in entry-level positions, fostering professional growth.

For students, this is important and provides a way to demonstrate their professional skills in a résumé. Additionally, for career changers, part-time work provides a low-risk way of developing skills in a new field.

5. You gain diverse work experience

Working part time in different roles or industries exposes individuals to diverse work environments, which helps them increase their skills, experience and network.

Not only does it keep boredom at bay, but it also makes individuals more adaptable to change because they have diverse skills and experience to fall back on, as well as a wider network.

6. They’re more accessible

Part-time jobs often have lower entry barriers due to their more casual nature. Employers are more likely to take a chance on someone new to the career or industry when it’s a part-time position.

This makes it easier for individuals, especially students or those with limited experience, to enter the workforce. This is important for career changers who may face barriers in entering a new industry.

7. You improve your income

While not always lucrative, part-time jobs contribute to financial stability by providing an income stream, helping individuals meet their basic needs. This is advantageous for students who are not able to commit to full-time work due to their studies.

They can also be a way for people to improve their income. For example, some individuals may freelance on a part-time basis alongside a full-time job in order to bring in extra cash.

8. They provide networking opportunities

Part-time work offers a unique networking advantage, fostering connections in various professional circles. With a diverse range of colleagues and industries, individuals can expand their professional network, gaining valuable contacts and insights.

These connections may lead to new opportunities, collaborations or mentorships, enhancing career prospects and providing a robust foundation for future professional growth.

9. They reduce commuting stress and costs

Part-time work reduces commuting stress and costs by minimizing the frequency of travel to and from the workplace. With fewer commuting days, individuals experience less traffic, saving time and lowering transportation expenses.

This not only contributes to improved work–life balance but also reduces environmental impact. The convenience of part-time arrangements alleviates the burden of daily commuting, enhancing overall job satisfaction.

10. They’re great for testing the waters

Part-time work serves as a valuable trial period for individuals exploring new career paths. By offering a reduced time commitment, it allows individuals to gain hands-on experience, assess job satisfaction and evaluate cultural fit without making a full-time commitment.

This flexibility enables informed career decisions, empowering individuals to make well-informed choices before fully committing to a new profession.

The cons of a part-time job

While the flexible nature of part-time jobs can be appealing, there are some disadvantages that warrant careful consideration.

1. They offer limited benefits

Part-time employees often receive fewer benefits such as health insurance, retirement plans and paid time off compared to their full-time counterparts.

Before stepping into this type of employment, you need to make yourself aware of your employee rights and consider how important these benefits are to you at this point in your life.

2. The money’s not always good

Simply put, less hours at work usually mean less pay. Not only does this impact your ability to budget and pay your bills on a day-to-day basis, but it can also have an impact on long-term savings for retirement or other important financial goals.

If you’re considering part-time work, you need to carefully consider the short- and long-term financial impact.

3. You have limited career advancement opportunities

Climbing the ladder may be a bit trickier. Some part-time gigs have limited growth opportunities, which could slow down your career train.

There can also be a perception, rightly or wrongly, that senior-level positions can’t be performed part time, so be prepared for this if you are a part-timer who is aiming for promotion.

4. Job security is low

Part-time work often comes with job insecurity, as employees may face uncertainty regarding hours, benefits and long-term stability. Part-time jobs are also more susceptible to economic downturns.

This lack of job security can lead to financial stress and hinder career advancement. Limited access to benefits like health insurance and retirement plans further compounds the challenges.

5. It’s difficult to manage multiple jobs

While part-time work is often associated with work–life balance, for those who are balancing multiple part-time jobs it can be challenging. Juggling multiple responsibilities can lead to increased stress and potential burnout, as individuals never feel like they can switch off.

If you have multiple part-time jobs on the go, it’s important to consider how this might affect you, both professionally and personally.

6. You’ll have fewer training opportunities

Part-time workers may have fewer opportunities for training and professional development, which could impact their overall career growth.

Consider how important this is to you, and take responsibility for your own personal development and training plan. Short course providers like Udemy and Coursera can be a low-cost way to keep developing vital skills.

7. They can result in decreased job satisfaction

Part-time workers can miss out on social and team events due to their shift pattern. They may also be overlooked for strategic projects and be less involved in long term planning in the workplace due to the more casual nature of their role.

This can make them feel less committed or engaged, leading to overall job dissatisfaction.

8. Your earnings may be inconsistent

The inconsistency of income is a notable drawback of part-time work, as earnings fluctuate based on variable hours. This instability can create financial challenges, making it difficult for individuals to budget and plan.

The absence of a consistent income stream may lead to financial stress and also can affect the ability to gain credit for loans, such as a mortgage.

9. You won’t always have set hours

Part-time work is often unpredictable, as it usually involves shift work.

As well as creating uncertainty of income, as noted above, this can also make it difficult for individuals to plan other aspects of their life such as social arrangements. They may need to cancel plans at the last minute if work requests arise and this can create stress and impact relationships.

10. You could be excluded from company culture

Part-time workers often find themselves excluded from the complete immersion in a company’s culture. Full-time employees may engage in team-building activities, social events and collaborative projects that part-time workers miss out on.

This exclusion can lead to a sense of detachment, and it can hinder the development of strong interpersonal connections within the workplace, potentially impacting job satisfaction and a sense of belonging in the organizational community.

Why students should work part-time

Part-time employment holds unique career benefits for students, offering them a chance to gain work experience, apply theoretical knowledge in practical settings and develop employability skills.

This provides experience for their résumé and gives them a foundation for their future careers. Additionally, part-time work contributes to financial independence, helping students cover educational expenses and reducing the burden of student loans.

While students may be concerned about the impact that part-time work can have on grades, it’s always possible to incorporate some form of part-time work into a busy student schedule. Students should see this as an opportunity to develop time management skills and get creative about the multitude of ways that they can earn income.

Key takeaways

Part-time jobs offer a diverse range of advantages and disadvantages, catering to individuals with various needs and preferences. As with everything, it depends on the person and their situation in life.

Whether you’re a student, a parent or someone seeking a more flexible work arrangement, weighing the pros against the cons is important in making informed decisions about your career path.

To sum up:

  • Strike the right balance. Part-time work can provide the illusive work–life balance, but it does come with compromises.
  • Evaluate benefits. Individuals should carefully evaluate the benefits offered by potential employers, ensuring they align with their needs.
  • Consider the money. Consider both the short-term and long-term financial impact of working part-time.
  • Plan for the long term. While part-time jobs can be a steppingstone, or offer flexibility in the short-term, individuals should also consider their long-term career goals.

Can you think of any other benefits or drawbacks of part-time jobs? Let us know in the comments section below.

Originally published on February 5, 2015.