Flexible working and mums of more than two children

Mothers of more than two children are significantly more likely to say flexible working has affected their career progression than those with fewer children, according to Workingmums.co.uk’s annual survey.

Career Progression


The survey of over 2,400 respondents, sponsored by McDonald’s, showed 60% said they felt flexible working had affected their career progression as against 49% of all mums and 57% of mums of two children under two.

Some 62% said working part time meant they had missed out of opportunities to progress their careers, such as training [compared to 54% of all mums] and 44% felt flexible working was not viewed positively by colleagues, compared to 42% of all mums.

Women with more than two children were less likely to earn more than their partner – 19.5% earned more than their partner compared to 22.5% of mums generally – and 63% said their partner did not work flexibly compared to 59% of all mums. They were also less likely to work full time. Some 21% of mums said they worked full time with no flexibility compared to 25% of mums generally; 43% work part time, compared to 35% of respondents generally.

Women with more than two children were also more likely to earn less than before they had children: 44% earn less pro rata than before they had children, compared to 39% generally and 36% of mums of two children aged under five.

Some 58% say they do more housework than their partners and 62% feel this is the case for childcare [compared to 51% and 57% respectively for mums generally]. 27% share housework equally and 21% share childcare equally.

Parents were asked what they felt would would make things easier for working mums. One mum who is now a Finance Business Analyst, earning £10,000 less than before she had children, said one of the main problems she faced was resentment and hostility from colleagues who didn’t work flexibly. She wanted to see flexible working extended to all workers.  “Other colleagues who may not be working mums or are in a different season of life need to be brought on board, not just management. I feel a lot of resentment and hostility when I leave at 5pm or work from home despite my deliverables being met on time,” she said.

Another, a part-time PMO analyst, spoke of being given “more unimportant tasks” since she reduced her hours and felt her career was not progressing. She said: “We have made progress in terms of giving the working hours to working mums (even though they still feel guilty). However more work has to be done to ensure women are getting on the job development. This can be done through mentoring and secondment. Currently I feel I have been put in a box in my current role and little stuck due to my needs to pick up kids etc.”

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