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Should part-time positions be more common in internal audit?

18 / 01 / 2016
Should part-time positions be more common in internal...So-called power part-timers are a growing part of the UK's workforce, which raises the question of whether the potential risks that part-time workers could present to an organisation should be given more attention during internal audits.

As these audits typically involve the assessment of all of the risks facing a business, firms with an increasing number of part-time staff need to be aware of the damage that neglecting to monitor them sufficiently could cause.

But why is part-time working currently undergoing something of a popularity renaissance? And exactly what risks can it pose to an organisation?

The growing trend of power part-timers

Power part-timers are people who hold relatively high-power positions, but who have opted to work on a part-time basis. It is a particularly popular way of working for mothers who hold executive roles, as well as individuals who have climbed the career ladder and are now in a position where they want to keep their foot in the door of the business world, but also enjoy other pursuits.

Speaking to BBC News last year, Karen Mattison, co-founder of flexible working firm Timewise, explained that she discovered around 650,000 people who fell into the higher tax bracket worked on a part-time basis, so she contacted 300 of them for interviews to find out what motivated them to work in this way.

She found that although a large proportion of executive employees are working part-time, they are not keen to advertise this fact due to the stigma of laziness or lack of ambition that can surround non-full-time jobs.

Following these interviews, Ms Mattison compiled the first annual Power Part-time List, which highlights the commendable work that part-time members of staff can achieve.

What risks could part-time work pose?

Alongside the growing trend of part-time working among individuals in top positions, the slow death of the traditional nine-to-five job also has the potential to add an increased number of risks to a business.

For instance, working on laptops or smartphones outside of the office could present added cyber security risks to a company, while difficulties in keeping track of where all employees are at one time can also pose a threat.

In fact, research from PwC in 2014 revealed that just 14 per cent of UK workers wanted to continue working in a traditional eight hours a day office environment in the future.

Jon Andrews, UK HR consulting leader at PwC, commented: "We could easily see the rise of organisations that have a core team that embodies the philosophy and values of the company, but the rest of the workforce is not fixed and come in and out on a project-by-project basis."

With this in mind, why do businesses need to make sure they are focusing on part-time roles when conducting internal audits?

Failure to include part-time positions in risk management audits is a huge oversight, as it can mean leaders and other influential people within an organisation are overlooked, despite the level of risk that they could account for.

In light of the rise of power part-timers, it is arguably more important than ever that those responsible for audits acknowledge the risks part-time workers could bring. These threats may be few, but as part-time roles increase in popularity, so will the number of risks. Therefore, it is vital for risk managers to make sure part-time members of staff are fully compliant and not adding any extra cyber risk to safeguard their brand for the future.

The impact on recruitment

The rise of power part-timers is also having a positive influence on the recruitment market.

Part-time workers often job share, meaning natural vacancies arise for people on the same pay level and of the same expertise as those who choose to work in this way.

What's more, as firms begin to pay more attention to the potential risks of part-time workers in their internal audits, there may also be additional job opportunities for individuals with expertise in the field of risk management to provide extra support when these assessments are being conducted.

Our 2015 Market Report combines our review of the prevailing conditions in the internal audit recruitment market together with the results of our 2015 employer survey.ADNFCR-1684-ID-801809945-ADNFCR