The working parent: maternity, SPL & the untapped pool

Discussing some of the issues faced by today’s working parent…

Maternity returners are lacking confidence & left unsupported

Less than 1/5 of management-level professionals feel confident about re-entering the workplace after their maternity leave, reports People Management.

What’s more, over 1/3 of this group consider leaving their role due to feeling ‘unsupported and isolated on their return’. 90% additionally say their company provide no formal support or ‘returnship’ focus whatsoever.

The CIPD encourages businesses to provide senior level job-sharing opportunities, alongside increased flexible working, to further support these employees.

Shared parental leave take-up remains incredibly low

Of the 285,000 couples who qualify for shared parental leave (‘SPL’) annually, only 2% take advantage of this opportunity. Why is this and are employers to blame (asks HR Magazine)?

The article cites a variety of possible factors. These include:

  • Mothers not actually wishing to share their leave with their partners
  • Health factors, including the mother’s need to recover from pregnancy or birth
  • The perceived impact on fathers’ careers
  • Cultural values around ‘being the breadwinner’
  • Lack of SPL promotion at work
  • Complex workplace policies

The single working parent: the ‘untapped talent pool’

Single working parents are more likely to be unemployed than any other primary employee group, says HR Review. In fact, their unemployment rate is now two and a half times that of the British average.

Unfortunately, the new-employment rate for the single working parent has actually declined over the past five years.

These stats come from Indeed – and the company is advising businesses to consider the group as a major untapped talent pool. With 845,000 national vacancies to fill, and record national employment rates, they suggest this may be one possible solution to overcoming the skills shortage.

Once again, the notion of increased flexible and remote working is discussed.

They also reference disabled and minority ethnic employees as further talent pools. Positively, national employment rates for both of these groups have increased over the past five years.

Appoint welcomes recruitment enquiries from each of the discussed employee groups, as well as those looking to do more to attract and support them. For initial advice, please call the office on 01225 313130 or email us via the bath.info address. Here’s what to include in your cover email as a candidate.



Career priorities: what matters most?

What are your career priorities? The Oxford Open Learning Trust has researched the factors deemed most important when looking for a new job…

The top five considerations currently include:

  1. Salary/pay (64%)
  2. Working hours (55%)
  3. Working location / Personal interest or enjoyment (tied at 50%)
  4. Job security (40%)
  5. Working environment (37%)

You can find the full top 10 over at HR News.

Career priorities: working hours

The second place spot particularly caught our attention. Not only because it was discussed by more than half of respondents, yet also the way it chimes with other research on this topic.

Over on the Independent, we hear how more than 1/2 of British workers would prefer to move away from the standard ‘9 to 5’ job. Instead, they would welcome the opportunity to either:

  • Start work before 9am, enabling them to finish before 5pm (57%)
  • Work longer hours in order to shorten the length of the working week (48%)

As HR News suggests, professionals would clearly like to carve out some extra time for themselves in a bid to achieve an improved work-life balance.

Looking outside the UK

Have other countries managed to achieve this balance? The stats would suggest so, with countries offering the most flexible working opportunities also scoring higher on employee happiness and engagement ratings.

Identifying your own career priorities

This is an aspect we highly recommend spending some time thinking about. Especially if you’re ready to search for a new job, or think you may be ready to do so soon.

Knowing your priorities really helps you refine your job search; especially if you’re considering one of a few possible career paths.

You’ll see this topic is discussed further in our 7 Days of Job Hunting Tips…an essential guide for anyone wanting to stand out from the (candidate) crowd!



The flexible workforce: latest news

Will a flexible workforce be the ‘normal’ workforce of the future? We explore three of the latest features on this topic

1) The flexible workforce: not just for women

Source: HR News

Alexander Mann Solutions is calling for businesses to offer a ‘culture of flexibility’ across the entire workforce. Traditionally, the focus has predominantly been placed on working mothers.

This change is intended to increase employee attraction, engagement and retention. It also answers the recent ‘Fathers in the Workplace’ report. The report suggests that men are perceived more negatively than women when making flexible working requests.

Please visit the HR News article for further findings.

2) The flexible workforce: maintaining company culture

Source: Personnel Today

Our next article responds to the oft-discussed Taylor Review. In this piece, Thomson Online Benefits explores the subject of company culture.

The company says, ‘…fundamental shifts in working practices are both an opportunity and a challenge for the UK’. A more flexible workforce may be part of these opportunities.

Companies are once again reminded of the staff retention benefits. Something that also naturally supports business revenue. On top of this, when working flexibly, more businesses are able to move away from traditional offices…and their costs!

But let’s return to the issue of company culture. The piece discusses how workers can feel more disconnected from their employers when there is a physical absence. Employers are, therefore, encouraged to prioritise a sense of connection.

Other opportunities and challenges are discussed here.

3) The flexible workforce: for happy employees

Source: UKTN

The UK is ‘lagging behind’ its American and Australian counterparts when it comes to flexible working.

  • 10% of UK businesses do not offer any flexible working options at all.
  • 30% of companies have fewer than 1/4 flexible working staff.

Yet survey respondents believe flexible working benefits collaboration, communication and productivity (due to happier employees!), alongside reduced overheads.

Employees may still be placing some importance on where they’re working. That said, alternative flexible working solutions are available. This includes the growing use of open plan offices and hot-desking.

You can read the piece in full on the UKTN website.

Thoughts from Bath…

This isn’t the first time we’ve covered flexible working. In our most recent roundup, we discuss your flexi working options here in Bath (and surrounding!).

Reading this as a local business? Flexible working is one of a number of staff attraction and retention strategies that can offer a significant competitive advantage. To discuss how a more flexible workforce may suit your recruitment needs, please call the office on 01225 313130.