The most flexible jobs are poles apart

We review seven of the most flexible jobs in the Australian economy and decide pole dancing isn't one of them.

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Job flexibility is something that an increasing number of Australian women want, but the way they want it and the benefits they seek, can differ significantly.

What we know is that the Fair Work Act offers assistance to employees who want flexible working arrangements, but these requests don’t always lead to the desired change that the worker really wants, and it’s often complicated by business needs and the ability to manage the arrangement.

So here’s a list of professions that do offer greater flexibility but in various ways including in hours, autonomy and location. All you need to decide is which is right for you, and if you can’t find it, then keep looking or creating.

Teaching – The average pay according to jobs website SEEK is around $77,000.

The work is hard, but teaching offers the benefit of school holidays.

There will be planning and marking that needs to be done outside of school hours, and extra-curricular responsibilities vary according to the school, but the regularity, volume and convenience (for parents), of the holiday breaks are far better than most. If however you don’t like going on holiday during term breaks, this may be a career to avoid, as leave during term time is not often available.

Writing/editing – Average pay is around $76,000 based on media roles.

A creative profession providing flexibility in both time and location. You can write and edit just about anywhere at any time, with roles available for both permanent employees and freelancers. There is a high degree of freelance and contract work (which is great for some), but if you require the certainty of a regular income, think hard about this one and try to opt for a permanent role.

Virtual assistant –  Average office support role pays $56,000.

A relatively new-role that is becoming quite popular for Mum’s looking at re-entering the workforce after starting their families. As the name suggests, assistance (usually administrative) is provided ‘virtually’, enabling the assistant to work from home. You can obtain VA work as an employee, through an agency or set-up your own business.

Nursing – Average medical role pays $89,000.

An often stressful profession, but one that offers a high-degree of part-time work. Employment can be found at medical centres, hospitals, schools, nursing homes and rehabilitation centres to name but a few, as well as work through nursing agencies/banks giving you the ability (within reason), to choose your hours and location of work.

Web/software developer –  Average IT role pays $102,000.

Telecommuting is common for developers, so the world (providing you have adequate web access), is your office. Another profession offering freelance and contract work, so again, think about whether this meets your financial needs.

Hairdressers/make-up artist/beauticianAverage services role pays $63,000

You’d be hard-pressed to find a suburb that doesn’t contain a home-based or mobile hairdresser, beautician or make-up artist. These careers are incredibly flexible and lend themselves well to employment in either a full or part-time capacity with the option of working from a home or mobile salon or if your circumstances allow.

Party-Plan Businesses – Average retail and consumer products job pays $57,000.

Not for everyone, but if you’re a great salesperson there is money to be made. The benefit of a party-plan business (think Tupperware, Enjo, Scentsy) is that they can be operated from home and ‘parties’ are generally held at a time that suits those with children – during school hours or on a weekend or evening when a partner or friend may be available to mind children. You may only want to hold one or two parties a month, or work to develop a network that provides several parties a week – it’s up to you.

I’m not suggesting that you can suddenly change professions – that takes times and maybe additional study, that these careers interest you or that they pay the kind of remuneration you’re after, but these options and industries are something to bear in mind if you are in a position or need to consider flexible alternatives.

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