A full-time job is the most sought-after type of employment. But full-time roles may not suit everyone. Which begs the question, is full time work worth it? Does it really earn you more money? Or could you save money by working fewer hours? Understanding these key differences will help you to make a smart, informed choice to suit your needs and desires.
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Is full time work worth it?
The below table highlights the key differences between a full-time job v freelance work.
|Full-Time Work Advantages||Full-Time Work Disadvantages|
|Higher pay rate than on part-time job||Lower flexibility to choose work hours and days|
|Full holiday entitlements||Increases risk of burnout and working excess hours|
|Full benefits entitlement||Poorer work life balance|
|Helps maintain skills||Requires more childcare|
|Career development is easier||More commuting than part-time work|
Opting to go full time can be a difficult choice as you can see from above. On the surface, it sounds as if you’ll take a pay rise. But is that really the case? More importantly, could it cause burnout and make you a less healthy7 and happier person? Let’s find out!
In the US, the Bureau of Labor Statistics categorizes an employee as part-time if they “usually work less than 35 hours per week”. Source
Full-Time Work Advantages
Higher pay rate than on part-time job
The average hourly rate for a full-time worker in an average job is around $29.81 – $33.77. An average annual salary equates to $44,888.
Full time employees are given a fixed salary for the year and know how exactly much they are going to be paid. This salary is guaranteed and typically capped.
It would be a valuable exercise to calculate how these costs compare to working full-time and paying for childcare, commuting etc.
Tip: Working fewer hours or days means you can spend less on food, treats and coffees.
Full holiday entitlements
Full time workers are usually entitled to other types of leave too, such as sick leave, maternity leave or paternity leave.
If you work on a schedule that allows you to take as many days off as you like, you work out even better as you get to pick how many paid holidays you take in the year!
With holiday entitlements and leave, staff can plan for paid time off without taking a hit on their wages. That is, provided they don’t surpass their annual leave.
If holidays are important to you and you need more flexibility with your work hours, a model that could work for you is unlimited holidays.
Full benefits entitlement
Employees receive all the benefits of the company that they work for. This means that they avail of health insurance, pension, car allowances, bonuses etc.
Benefits packages on average have a value of up to 30% of the employee’s wage. So, if you’re on a $60,000 salary, benefits could add up to $30,000, giving you an annual compensation of $90,000.
Don’t forget the value of the different types of leave that were mentioned in the previous section! This can equate to months of paid leave off in a year if it was all used!
You will also often benefit from a redundancy package.
Tip: Before committing to part time work, check how holidays and benefits will be affected.
Helps maintain skills
Sometimes personal circumstances can prohibit you from being able to take on a full time job. That doesn’t mean that you have to throw in the towel and be a stay at home Mom or Dad though!
Opting for a part-time job can offer you the best of both worlds. Working part-time helps keep your skills current and keep connected with your company.
Choosing to go part-time also avoids the empty gap in your CV that can make it difficult to re-enter the working world!
Moving to a part-time job can also create new opportunities to try out a different role and develop new skills to broaden your horizon. This is often not possible in a full-time role.
Finally, taking on a part-time job can be a stepping stone to working for a new department or even a new company. Especially if the company you desire to work for has few full-time roles.
Career development is easier
Part-time roles offer fewer opportunities to demonstrate your talent. Plus, the expectation is that many roles will require a full-time worker. This can significantly deplete your chances of climbing the corporate ladder.
I have seen people in the past stepping down managerial roles to move part-time.
If professional development is an important factor for you, then part-time work will likely detract from your chances to advance your career.
Full-Time Work Disadvantages
Lower flexibility to choose work hours and days
With a full time job, you are contractually bound to work a set number of hours. It is usually fixed hours with set days, start and finish times.
This is often based on working over 30 hours a week. The hours that the worker is required to complete also usually has a set structure, e.g., 8am – 12pm, 5 days a week.
More and more companies are adopting policies such as annualized hours which allows an employee work up the total hours within a year as opposed to within a week.
Compressed work weeks, such as a 4 day work week, allow full time staff to complete their work in a shorter week, which could equate to less hours.
Many companies have core working hours where staff must be present.
If you work for a company with a flexible working policy, such as the 4-day work week, flexi-time or compressed hours, there will be more freedom to select the hours that you work.
One of the most flexible work models is an annualized hours contract!
That means you could work evenings and weekends if you wanted to complete freelance work as a side hustle outside your full-time job.
Increases risk of burnout and working excess hours
Burnout is becoming a prominent health concern in the workplace. With growing numbers of people working from home and increasing workplace demands, people are struggling to shut off from work.
Reports have shown that people who experience burnout are working more than 40 hours. Burnout is even more prevalent in people who work 60 hours +.
If you work for a company with a flexible working policy, such as the 4-day work week, annualized hours flexi-time or compressed hours, there will be more freedom to reduce your hours.
Poorer work life balance
With 35 – 60 + working hours in a week, people will have little time for personal commitments and achieving a work life balance. The workday doesn’t end when you finish your paid job though! For most people, they complete at least another few hours of unpaid work after the day job is done.
A study by the OECD revealed that in the US, women clock up 243.2 minutes a day or 28.4 hours a week completing non-paid work, such as household chores. In comparison, their male counterparts were recorded as completing 150.2 minutes a day or 17.5 hours a week.
Part-time work is usually above 16 hours and below 35 hours a week.
This allows a person to reduce the amount of time they spend working both at home and in the workplace.
Consequently, they have more time to rest, and it lowers the risk of them becoming burned out from both work and personal duties.
Part time work can therefore be an excellent strategy for a working parent or busy adult to help balance their lifestyle between family and work.
Compressed hours, such as the 4 day work week, allows staff to work fewer hours for the same pay. If this policy doesn’t exist in your workplace, it means that you’ll have to settle for part time work with a reduced wage.
If keeping a full-time wage and reducing your hours is important to you, you could consider moving to a company which has a compressed hours work week.
Requires more childcare
Childcare is a costly necessity for many parents who want or need to work. Often, parents are spending a high percentage, or in some cases, nearly their whole income on childcare alone.
With a part-time role, parents have the opportunity to reduce this cost by mind their children for a few extra hours a day or week. This can result in substantial savings!
Having your child looked after for just 1 day less could save you a whopping $44.20 – $138.8 per week!
The average savings per year by reducing childcare 1 less day could equate to $2121.60.
With the cost of childcare burning a massive hole in the pockets of working parents, this will undoubtedly be a huge advantage to working a part-time job.
More commuting than part-time work
Commuting to work consumes fuel, often involves paying for tolls, parking or travel tickets or even taxis. If staff work a couple of full days instead of 5 part-time days, they will have fewer commutes to work.
This can save a significant amount of time and money commuting…
The average savings per year by commuting 1 less day a week could equate to a cool $900!
If your commute involves expensive parking fees, the average savings per year by parking 1 less day range from $288 – $1848!
If you will be required to work 5 days a week, you could alternatively consider asking if you could work remotely to reduce commuting costs.
The safe choice of work will always be a full-time role. However, for those who have the skills, want a side income and can handle the risks of working for themselves, a freelance job is often a great choice.
Using the above comparison table and tips, you can decide which is the best fit for you!
If you would like to further enhance your knowledge on work setup and organization, I have written some articles that are without a doubt worth a look.
But full-time employment won’t suit everybody…
If you would like to further enhance your knowledge on alternatives to full time work, I have written some articles that are without a doubt worth a look.
Here are some other useful articles I wrote that you should go check out:
- Casual Work v Part Time – 6 Remarkable Differences!
- 4 Day Work Week V 5 Day – Full Of Surprising Facts & Results
- Annualized Hours Explained – Helpful Tips & How It Works!
- How Unlimited Holidays Work – An Insider Guide + FAQs!
- Best 4 Day Work Week Alternatives – 7 Proven Strategies!