The parent trap!

How much time does the average working parent get to spend with their children? Plus does having a baby truly affect your career?

This post explores two separate news items from the HR News website. The first investigates how the ‘always on’ business culture impacts parents’ free time…

1) How much time do parents get to spend with their children?

  • British professionals are currently getting less than 30 minutes a day of quality time to spend with their kids, according to Trades Union Congress.
  • It appears that the nation’s working hours, commuting patterns and low energy levels are all contributing to this trend.
  • Parents and non-parents are also struggling to ‘disconnect from work’ at the end of each day, due to the ‘always on’ nature of the modern workplace.
  • Myers-Briggs deems quality time spent with family and friends to be a core contributor to employee wellbeing, highlighting how important this issue is to employers as well as team members.

2) Most Mums believe that having a baby has ‘hindered their career’

  • Sadly, 89% of Mums say that they’ve faced ‘career regression’ on return from maternity leave. They also believe that they are ‘overlooked for career progression’ opportunities.
  • 51% plan to leave their roles if they are unsupported by their bosses.
  • This problem is increasing levels of depression and anxiety among working mothers. 91% of the group used phrases such as ‘anxious, isolated, worried, overwhelmed, lost, stressed and guilt’, etc.
  • Mothers have shared many of the concerning conversations they’ve had with their employers, ranging from those being told ‘the team shouldn’t be punished for their lifestyle choice’ to the business leaders who ‘think maternity leave is a break’.

Are you worried about being (or becoming) a working parent?

  • It appears that many employed parents are facing somewhat of a trap – feeling they’re neither at the career stage they should be or getting to spend enough time with their children when out of work.
  • Employers should look to use effective and supportive strategies to attract and retain this key workforce during such competitive business times. After all, the nation’s skills shortage remains in full swing.
  • Flexible working is one such attractive employee offering, as discussed in the first of the featured posts. However, even taking the time to understand working parents’ ongoing concerns would be a great starting point.
  • Working parents should not need to fear their career opportunities. Where possible, discuss your concerns and/or needs with a trusted party. This could be a manager, business owner or HR professional. If you really feel unsupported, there may be better employers out there for you.
  • Always discuss your career priorities with your Recruitment Consultant. The best agencies don’t just want to submit your CV to a position that suits your experience, yet one that also provides a culture match.

You can apply for the latest vacancies via the jobs pageCV upload, or by email. Here’s what to include in your cover email if you’re emailing a Recruitment Consultant.



New mother retention rates & more parental news

Should companies publish their new mother retention rates? Some MPs think so, in order to reduce discrimination levels. There’s also talk of fathers facing discrimination within the latest news for working parents…

The publishing of new mother retention rates

Source: Personnel Today

  • The Women and Equalities Committee is in favour of increased support for new parents – including extended legal protections regarding ‘redundancy for pregnant employees and new mothers’.
  • In addition, they’re calling on the government to take greater action to support parents. They suggest that larger employers should publish their new mother retention rates 12 months after they return to work, as well as 12 months following a flexible working application.
  • It’s not the first time the group has made such recommendations. They follow ‘shocking stories of workplace discrimination’ with concerns surrounding the ’emotional, physical and financial impact on women’.

Many UK working fathers face discrimination 

Source: HR Review

  • 44% of dads say they’ve experienced discrimination after taking up their right to paternity leave or shared parental leave.
  • 1/4 of fathers have received ‘verbal abuse or mockery’ as a result of their choice.
  • More than a third (35%) additionally perceive a negative career impact – such as job loss (17%) or demotions (20%).
  • This may be contributing to a culture of white lies, in which fathers feel unable to be upfront about their ‘family-related responsibilities.’

Could one prominent paternity leave programme make a difference to many more dads?

Source: People Management

  • O2 is increasing its paid paternity leave programme to 14 weeks for permanent team members – while also ensuring that same-sex couples and adoptive and surrogate parents are all included.
  • This policy will be extended to retail workers as well as head office employees, which puts O2 ahead of many of its retail counterparts.
  • While it’s acknowledged that these policies are largely offered by big corporate business, the competitive advantage will likely cause other companies to follow suit. Consequently, we may see reductions in stigma and discrimination.

Leaders need to support flexible working for parents

Source: Personnel Today

Offering flexible working alone is not enough to support working parents, according to ‘The 2019 Modern Families Index: Employer Report’.

Instead, business leaders should look to more actively celebrate the benefits of flexible working. While also helping to reduce the pressure parents feel when considering their working options.

The report suggests employers can make flexibility ‘visible’ from the top tiers of their companies – and educate their employees on how colleagues achieved senior positions through flexible working.

Perhaps this will help to improve the current stats, which show that:

  • 2 in 3 people are finding it ‘increasingly difficult to raise a family.’
  • Only 1/4 of working parents feel they’ve struck the ‘right balance between work, family life and income’.

Looking for a job that better suits your needs? Visit our jobs page



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.