U.S. employees are demanding more part-time and flexible work, and employers are listening. Many, like Amazon, are among the more than half that reported investing in flexible work options this year, according to a 2015 Workplace Trends study.
But tech workers aren't the only ones who can score these lucrative, part-time gigs. FlexJobs, an online marketplace that connects freelancers and employers, recently identified 10 high-paying jobs for those seeking part-time work. While the hours are reduced, the salaries start at $50 an hour.
Those positions are:
- Director of operations
- Jazz music instructor
- Curriculum writer
- Clinical pharmacist
- Software engineer
- Financial consultant
- Government contracts attorney
- Mobile developer
Each of these professional-level positions requires advanced experience or education, and would translate to six-figure salaries if the candidate was employed full time.
Other research by FlexJobs also demonstrated how the industries that offer the most freelance gigs are becoming more diverse. They now include computer and IT jobs, as well as administrative, accounting and finance, customer service, medicine and health, and education and training positions.
"Part-time work is sometimes associated with less professional, lower paying jobs, but, as this list indicates, that isn’t necessarily true," wrote Sara Sutton Fell, founder and CEO of FlexJobs, in a statement. "The opportunities for high-paying part-time jobs span industries and positions, while still offering competitive salaries."
Part-time work has exploded in popularity in recent years, and employers in highly competitive recruiting environments have had to get more creative with the flexible working options they provide.
Amazon, for its part, recently announced a 30-hour workweek program, which will allow select employees to work 16 of those hours at the office (between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Monday through Thursday) while making up the rest on their own schedule. These employees will still receive full-time benefits, but only 75% of the salary.
Though workers are demanding more flexible and part-time employment, however, there has been some question as to whether part-time gigs are providing them with more freedom, or demanding the same results in less time.
"The employee who gets five days of work done in four days shouldn't be punished for this, but rewarded," Douglas Rushkoff, author of Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus, recently told Fast Company. "But that only works if management sees its employees as part of its company . . . You don’t have to take the money away from them and deliver it to the shareholders," he says.
Such arrangements are also sometimes viewed as a symptom of the disappearance of stable, full-time employment, which has forced many to juggle a wide variety of side gigs to earn the equivalent of a full-time salary. A 2015 report by the Freelancers Union and online freelancing platform Upwork (FU/U) found that over one-third of U.S. workers (nearly 54 million) did some freelance work in the past year. That represents a growth of 700,000 more freelancers than the previous year.
"We’re a generation that’s used to juggling projects and interests, and when you graduate, ‘part-time’ is a great way to test the waters of different career paths," wrote Kelsey Manning in a post published by Fast Company in 2014. Manning explains that managing multiple gigs at once is often the only way to make ends meet in the new economy. "Full-time, full-salary jobs are difficult to come by and—have you heard?—we’re in debt," she wrote, detailing how she spends her weeks balancing four part-time and freelance gigs.
The erosion of full-time employment opportunities has put many into a precarious career (and financial) position. As Contently revealed in its "State of Freelancing in 2015" report, median salaries were between $10,001 and $20,000 per year, with just over 19% earning over $50,000 in the past 12 months. If part-time flexible work opportunities on the higher end of the salary spectrum in a wider variety of industries continue to trend upwards, juggling multiple, low-paying gigs may become a thing of the past.