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over 7 years ago by Emma Love

Parenting, part-time and payrises

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When I started this article I was enormously heartened to be writing about the increased levels of part time and flexible working we have recently seen for parents in the advertising industry.

Anyone who has spoken to me in recent weeks - you know who you are - will have heard me waxing lyrical about how flipping open minded the agency world seems to be becoming.

In fact, the last handful of placements I have made have all been working parents in management or leadership positions at London agencies. Pretty much all negotiated an element of flexible working, a good pay rise and step forward in their career.

Good news! I was going to write. This is fantastic! Yes, work to do - lots and lots - but let's keep going. We're definitely on to something!

So I cannot tell you my dismay to read the recent On The Campaign Couch (16/09/2016) "Will I still be taken seriously if I switch to part time?". The scenario was a man asking if he should go part time once he became a dad. The answer from The Couch was a resounding "You're having a laugh aren’t you. Surely that's career suicide".

Campaign I ask you, would this article have even been published if the gender was switched, and it was a mum asking the same question? In this age of diversity are we still so far in the dark ages that men are defined only by their capacity to be the main breadwinner? Surely not. And let’s not forget that if dads can't get flexibility from their employer, we all know what this means for mums.

If you are a working parent please do not be put off by such unhelpful dialogue, dressed up as humour but peddling views which are - fortunately - not shared by everyone. There’s really good stuff happening out there. Truly.

Campaign was right about one thing though: it will be quite exhausting – but very, very satisfying.

Here are some tips if you are job hunting and need a flexible working arrangement


  • Apply for permanent, full time positions as well as jobs that are exclusively advertised as part-time.
Job adverts may not explicitly outline part time working as an option but this does not necessarily mean it’s not up for discussion.
  • Lead with your skills and suitability for the role you’re applying for.
I’ll say that again. Lead with your skills and suitability for the role you’re applying for.Don’t open the conversation with a request for flexibility but rather show the Hiring Manager why you’d be amazing in the role. This will also help you have a good grasp of your value – which will come in handy when you’re negotiating the salary.
  • That said, once the conversation has started, be clear and upfront about how it's going to work
3 days a week, 4 days a week, 9 day fortnight, 2 days from home, 5 days compressed into 4, late start for drop off, early leave for pick up ... whatever it might be.
  • Don’t apologise. So you have children. It happens. I have two myself.
And whilst we’re on the subject, avoid that awful word “only” as in “I’m ‘only’ part time”.
  • If your skills and experience warrant it for the job you’re going for, go for the pay rise too.

Just so you know, we’ve secured increased packages of anything up to 20% for part-time and flexi-working parents.

Happy hunting!


Emma - colour

















How realistic is flexible working in agencies?