What If All Jobs Were Potentially Part-Time?

Some jobs in business and law seem to require exceptionally long hours and being perpetually on-call. Indeed, one main reason for the remaining wage gap between college-educated it's mostly men who end up in these jobs, while professional women are more likely to end up in careers where the work is full-time or part-time, but not extreme overtime (for discussion, see here and here). This pattern raises an obvious question: is it really so impossible to divide up these extreme overtime jobs into more than one job, like two part-time or even two full-time (but only full-time) jobs?  

Zurich Insurance UK gave it a try: specifically, the company shifted to a policy in which all jobs in the firm, right up to the top of the C-suite, were advertised within the firm as potentially part-time. The UK government has something called the Government Equalities Office which contains within it a  Behavioural Insights Team. Thus, the results of the study "Changing the default: a field trial with Zurich Insurance to advertise all jobs as part-time" was carried out by Rony Hacohen, Shoshana Davidson, Vivek Roy-Chowdhury, Daniel Bogiatzis Gibbons, Hannah Burd, and Tiina Likki - the Behavioural Insights Team (September 2020). Here's a description: 

A comprehensive review of Zurich’s internal HR data on recruitment, progression and promotions revealed differences in outcomes between staff who worked full-time and those who worked part-time. The vast majority of part-time workers were women. Findings showed that, relative to full-time employees, part-time employees were 35% less likely to apply for promotions, received raises that were 1.1% lower, and received lower scores on performance and potential to progress metrics. ...

Our interviews also suggested that there was some stigma around working part-time, related to perceptions of commitment of part-time employees, and employees feared being judged for seeking to reduce their working hours. In addition, managers and employees saw part-time work as a privilege, rather than a right.

To address these concerns, we developed an intervention to normalise part-time work at Zurich, by opening all new positions to part-time work by default. The intervention was live for 12 months. ... The intervention aimed to normalise part-time work across all levels of the organisation. To achieve this, new positions at Zurich were advertised as open to part-time patterns or job-shares by default, unless the hiring manager provided a business case for why that was not possible. The intervention went live in March 2019 on Zurich’s hiring platform.

It was not possible to run the intervention as a randomised controlled trial (RCT). Therefore, we conducted a before-after analysis comparing the data from the pre-intervention period (before March 2019) with the intervention period (March 2019 - February 2020).
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