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.



Report: 10 years of changing workplace trends

How workplace trends have changed, according to the findings of a 10-year study…

The purpose of this study is to explore how ‘Alternative Workplaces’ have influenced and impacted today’s businesses.

About ‘Alternative Workplaces’:

  • This label applies to any “non-traditional work practices, settings and locations that supplement or replace traditional offices.” For instance, the flexible working, remote working and shared office spaces that we’re all now familiar with.
  • This research commenced in 2008 when Alternative Workplaces (‘AW’) really were alternative.
  • The 2018 report marks the fifth biennial study of its type.
  • These latest findings come from 130 companies, employing in the region of 2.3 million employees worldwide.

Key workplace trends:

The primary motivations for implementing AW have changed dramatically over the past 10 years.

  • In 2011, soon after the recession, Cost Savings came joint top of the list alongside Business Agility (72% each). Cost Savings then plummeted by 34%, yet returned to second place in the latest survey (63%).
  • Employee Productivity is now in first place (64%).
  • The authors recognise that the core drivers tend to reflect the economic picture. In other words, today’s focus on staff depicts an improved economy and employment market.

Yet drivers also vary by the formality of the arrangement.

  • Businesses with formal AW programmes are vastly more likely to value Cost Savings (first place/76% versus 9th place/28% for informal programmes).
  • Also in the top five, businesses with formal programmes state that collaboration, attraction/retention, health/well-being and productivity are their most important motivations.
  • Conversely, productivity comes in first place for 86% of Informal AW programmes. This is followed by work-life balance, attraction/retention, agility, and health/wellbeing.
  • This reflects the tailoring of aims towards business goals as programmes mature and develop.

Internal mobility is on the increase!

  • The practice of ‘internal mobility’, where employees don’t have a designated seat yet rather work in and around a set building, has increased by 10% in four years, taking this up to 1 in 5 businesses.
  • External mobility (where the person doesn’t have a designated seat and also works on the road or spends 1-2 days each week working from home/client offices/satellite offices) has, however, reduced by almost the same amount in this period.
  • The number of people working from home 3 or more days a week has also reduced, although by just 3% (to a total of 6%).
  • Almost half of all employees still have their own designated workspace (48%).
  • It is suggested that businesses are making their workplaces more appealing. And, as the authors say, ‘people are happy to be mobile but they still want a place to call home.’

Employees may not be involved as much as they should be.

  • Respondents were asked how their employees were incorporated into planning, implementing and evaluating AW programmes. The results were as follows:
  • Ongoing evaluation, such as surveys (61%).
  • Choice of specific AW offerings, such as remote working (50%).
  • Planning the programme, including work styles and places (36%).
  • Choosing supportive technologies (22%).
  • The report states that the reduced involvement at the planning stage ‘could be a dangerous trend towards trying to shortcut the AW implementation process’. It’s recommended that involvement is increased via the use of champion groups (compiling feedback from others).

 Employees are no less productive! 

  • Previously, employers have worried that remote workers will not be as productive as in-house staff. However, this concern is now only shared by 5% of businesses.
  • That said, overworking has become the primary AW problem; an issue affecting 56% of respondents. Past surveys have also reflected this to a lesser degree, yet it may have been amplified by the increased ‘attention to people factors’.
  • Respondents are also increasingly struggling to obtain feedback from their managers. It is speculated that this may relate to the fact managers are also adopting AW ways!
  • The authors recommend that both managers and employees are, therefore, trained in how to work in AW settings. In addition, they say ‘stop worrying whether your remote employees are actually working. Like everyone else, they should be measured by results and outcomes’.

These are only some of the fascinating findings on how workplace trends have evolved over the past 10 years; as a result of the AW offerings at our disposal. You can download the full report via the Advanced Workplace Associates website.

7 of the latest features on shifting workplace trends:

  1. The empathy economy
  2. Training for the future
  3. Your future job – and reasons to feel optimistic about it!
  4. Why customer service employees will be most in-demand
  5. The career skills you’ll need by 2020
  6. Measuring your soft skills
  7. The secret of success: for job-seekers, colleagues, managers & bosses!

Source: 

This year’s research comes courtesy of Advanced Workplace Associates, Global Workplace Analytics and Haworth, with the support of Workplace Evolutionaries. Research from 2008-2014 was conducted by New Ways of Working in association with Haworth.