‘HR needs to recognise flex work needs of younger men’



Organisations must develop HR policy which recognises young men’s desire for greater work-life balance and more equal share of parenting if they are to achieve their objective of a more gender diverse workforce, according to new research.

The study by the Executive Coaching Consultancy, is based on a survey of 1,043 men and women employees aged 21 to 35 and finds  that while 80% of men and 73% of women say they are satisfied with their current employer and pay and development opportunities are in line the expectations they had on joining the business, a substantial number of men (42%) and women (52%) say they don’t want to progress to senior management and can’t see themselves staying beyond another five years.

The ECC says interest in progressing to a senior position is waning early in the career of many men because they cannot see that it is possible to have a senior role and a healthy work/home balance.  Men also say they want a structured career path that is based on their individual strengths rather than traditional linear paths.

The survey found 78% of dads wanted to explore the idea of shared parental leave.  A lack of enhanced paternity pay is seen by both sexes as the biggest barrier to men taking up Shared Parental Leave (36%), followed by concern that it would negatively impact the father’s career (25%).

Overall, some 88% of men and 82% of women think all employers should have flexible working in place, and over half of women (53%) and four in 10 men (43%) saying they would change employer to do the same job with greater flexibility.  There is a clear perception among women that flexible working carries a penalty on career progression and pay leading 57% to say they want more equality in career opportunities and clarity around promotion paths for flexible workers.

Geraldine Gallacher, Managing Director, ECC and author of the report said: “Gender parity in pay and career progression can only be achieved through policy that addresses the needs of both men and women.

“A culture that encourages flex as a default way of working for all, irrespective of reason, with clear promotion paths for flex workers not only enables employees to have more control and balance in the way they work, but reduces the stigma attached to women and the resultant “motherhood penalty.”

“Similarly, employers that provide enhanced paternity pay make Shared Parental leave a financially viable option for men giving them the option to share parenting with their partner and stop women having to choose between a career or parenthood.”

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