Over a quarter of workers say fears about being left behind in a fast-changing workplace, driven by tech, are putting them off having kids.
Over a quarter (28%) of UK workers say that fears of being left behind by workplace technology are so severe they have been put off having children, according to a new survey. This rises to over a half (51%) of workers in the IT and tech industry.
The Returnship Report by tech jobs specialists CW Jobs looked at the challenges facing businesses when employees return to work after a prolonged absence, such as paternity and maternity leave.
It is based on a survey of 2,000 workers who took a period of leave from work lasting over three months within the last 10 years. Of those who returned to work, nearly half (45%) reported that their workplace technology had either changed or was totally overhauled.
40% of all workers said they felt ‘left behind’ when they returned to work, over half (57%) said that returning from leave felt like it was their first day again and over a third (36%) struggled to operate the new technology that had arrived in their absence.
Over a third (38%) stated that their return to work was so stressful that they felt nervous or anxious when contemplating taking another break, while for some (28%) – the returning experience was so negative it put them off parenthood.
On average, it took UK workers the best part of a month (4.4 weeks) to feel like they had recaptured their pre-absence productivity, with technological advances one of the most prominent obstacles to overcome.
A third (33%) said it took between one and six months to become fully accustomed to new technology that had been introduced while they were away and a further 38% admitted to struggling with everyday processes and other day-to-day jobs that had been altered by the introduction of new technology.
79% of respondents said they required tech training on returning to work, but despite this, only 31% received full training. 20% did not receive any at all. As a result, over a third (38%) felt left behind by their employer or did not have the support they required to get back up to speed.
Only 21% of respondents had heard of returnships, but when explained well over half (57%) stated they would have benefited from such a programme.
Dominic Harvey, Commercial Director of CWJobs, said: “The Returnship Report is a vital piece of research that shows how daunting it can be going back to work after an absence. It reveals the stress and anxiety that employees often feel and that is something we need to combat. It is concerning it is acutely felt within the Tech environment which can ill afford to haemorrhage existing talent in the UK. Workplaces need to do more to bridge the gap for their employees when returning to work and create a working environment where they feel continually supported.”