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Part-time employees are those who, whether by personal choice or due to employment conditions beyond their control, work fewer hours than the regular, fulltime staff of a business over the course of a year. Many business owners rely on a blend of full time and part-time employees to attend to basic operational needs, although some industries rely heavily on one type or another. Retail sectors, for instance, utilize large percentages of part-time employees, while the workforce of many manufacturers and service providers tend to be primarily composed of full time employees.

Analysts cite four primary demographic categories into which most part-time employees fall. These are: 1) Retirees, who may want to supplement a fixed income or ensure that they maintain a certain level of involvement in the world around them; 2) Parents, who choose to have one member of their partnership work on a part-time basis so that more time can be spent raising children; 3) Students, who embrace pert time employment as a way to make money without interrupting their education; and 4) Temporary agency workers, who sometimes become part-time employees of a particular establishment over time.

Advantages of hiring part-timers

Several advantages are associated with part-time help:

  • Costs are lower in terms of direct monetary compensation: Some part-timers are paid less than half of what full timers who do the same work are paid. Many businesses will be forced to close without part-timers. And of course, many businesses save significant amounts of money in terms of benefits by hiring part-time workers.


  • Energy and enthusiasm:  University and college students can give businesses a needed injection of liveliness. This quality is particularly evident in retail clothing establishments and other businesses that survive on the expenditures of younger customers.


  • In-house candidates for full time job openings: When fulltime job positions open up, employees can make better choices from part-timers, whom they have had the opportunity to observe and test out. 


  • Willingness to learn: The younger part-timers are always willing to learn new tasks and responsibilities.


  • Availability during peak period: Many businesses that utilize part-time help have pronounced cycles of activity (for holiday, seasonal attractions, etc.). Students are particularly useful in meeting these periods of high demand because many of these periods coincide with times when they are not in school (Christmas vacation, summertime).


  • Execution of mundane or unpleasant tasks: Many part-time employees do not have the clout to refuse certain tasks; many young part-timers recognize that there is a “paying your dues” quality to work life in many early employment experiences. This also frees up fulltime employees to use their time to tackle more complicated, long-term challenges facing the business.


  • Availability: Some smaller and isolated communities offer a larger supply of responsible and hardworking part-timers, because fewer part-time jobs are available.

Disadvantages Associated With Part-Timers

There are disadvantages associated with part-time employees as well. One of the major drawbacks is that part-timers are less committed to their jobs; they usually have a long-term goal that is more important. This causes them to be less stable and dependable. Indeed, it is basic business reality that the turnover rate among part-time positions is significantly higher that the rate among full timers.

  • Higher absenteeism rates.
  • Inexperience, which can translate into higher training costs and/or unprofessional behavior.
  • Mistakes in hiring decisions, since younger applicants for part-time positions have less of a track record.
  • Excessive socializing (again, especially with younger employees).

Increased risks in terms of workplace safety and security. 

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Bernard Taiwo
I am Management strategist, Editor and Publisher.

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