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.



About returnships: the who, what & why!

Returnships form the focus of our Spring HR Newsletter. Never heard of returnships? You’re not alone!

A brief introduction…

  • 85% of UK business owners do not know that returnships exist.
  • Also known as ‘returner’ or ‘return-to-perm’ programmes, these are internship-like opportunities targeting talented workers who’ve taken an extended career break.
  • They were first designed to tap into one very specific pool of workers: women hoping to re-enter the workplace following childcare responsibilities. The focus has since been extended to attract a host of high-calibre staff.
  • Prospective employees are also seeing the benefits. These programmes have been helping to overcome many of the challenges commonly faced by ‘returners’ – from confidence-boosting to mentoring and networking, and generally being given the chance to showcase their skills.

In the News!

There are multiple reasons that more of these programmes should be trialled here in Bath. We’ve shared our research findings with you in our latest HR Newsletter…alongside seven pointers to help you start your own return-to-perm programmes.

This two-page guide is a handy resource for local business owners and HR Managers. Pop us an email to receive your copy.

Also of note…

Don’t forget you can also find us sharing the latest news and job alerts over on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn!



Are working parents under too much pressure?

Why are working parents facing so much pressure? We review findings from The Modern Families Index 2018…

Working parents ‘obliged’ to overwork

The study – published by Working Families and Bright Horizons (as discussed in HR Review)– shows:

Many parents feel it is necessary to work beyond their contractual arrangements, due to high workloads or perceived expectations.

  • 39% of parents are unable to put their children to bed on a regular basis due to work
  • 42% are not around to assist their children with homework
  • 28% say they argue with their partners about their job
  • 1 in 3 feels ‘burnt out’ all/most of the time. More than 50% directly attribute this to their work.

What does an average working week look like?

  • Parents contracted to 35-36 hours of work a week are actually undertaking an additional 40% more hours. A third of this group is working one extra day (7 hours) each week.
  • Parents with a 25 hour a week contract are working 34% more hours weekly. 30% of this group could actually be classified as full-time employees, working a total of 35 hours!
  • Not all of these hours are paid, costing households an average of £1,927 (for part-time workers) to £2,429 (for full-time workers) each year.

For more stats on the effects on parents’ health habits, and the impact flexible working has on these findings, it’s worth reading the full HR Review article.

The piece suggests parents are ‘deliberately stalling and downshifting their careers’ in an attempt to limit the effects on modern family life.

What can we do to help?

This situation is part of a cultural pattern that, sadly, is unlikely to disappear overnight. Much of the power to change this currently lies with employers. We’d recommend all local businesses read the short report on the Working Families website. And if you only read one page of this, make it Page 6.

In times of a skills shortage, it’s vital that businesses are in the position to attract quality applicants. This will naturally include many of the 11 million+ working parents throughout the UK.

As for working parents, we recommend reviewing your working arrangements to ensure they’re the most appropriate fit for your current needs. If it’s time for a change, be sure to find a trusted REC-registered recruitment agency who will truly understand your needs.

For further recruitment advice and support, please call the office on 01225 313130.