‘Large numbers of working parents looking to move jobs in 2022’

A new survey from Bright Horizons shows many parents are looking to change jobs in the next year, with flexible working hours being high on their wish list.

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Almost four in 10 working parents (38%) plan to look for a new job in the next 12 months, according to the Bright Horizons’ 2022 Modern Families Index Spotlight.

The survey of over 1,000 working parents found 89% of those who say that they’re “completely stressed” will be looking for a new job, but 62% of people who rate themselves as having good work-life balance are also on the lookout for a move. Even 49% of those saying that they’re highly satisfied with life overall at the moment will be looking for new work in the next year.

Bright Horizons says many people seem to be moving towards roles that fit with a more enjoyable work-life balance they’ve discovered in the pandemic era. It states that the data suggests employers should be concerned about flight risk from all types of employees. Almost three quarters (74%) of people caring for elderly relatives are actively seeking a new job, as are 66% of those who say their employer is unsympathetic to childcare needs. Meanwhile, 59% of senior managers are also looking elsewhere.

The survey shows that flexible hours outrank flexible location on the “wish-list” for most staff. Nearly four-fifths (79%), whether front-line workers or knowledge workers, express a desire for more flexible hours.

For those whose roles clearly suit remote work, there is an emerging preference for a blend between office and home working. Nearly half of parents polled (49%) want a “hybrid” blend of the two, with the preferred balance tilting towards more days working from the office than from home.

22% of respondents now say they’d like to work exclusively from the office – up by more than a third on last year’s figure. This is slightly more than would prefer to work from home all of the time, which is 18%.

The survey also shows that parents are worried about the impact the pandemic has had on their children. Parents of children aged between 7-10 years are the most concerned, with 62% worried about their child’s mental health and 57% worried about their educational catch-up needs. This compares with 54% of parents overall who worry about their child’s mental health and 55% who feel their child has fallen behind educationally. Fifty-two per cent of parents are also concerned about their child’s social skills having suffered.

Three quarters of respondents carefully consider their childcare and eldercare responsibilities before accepting a new job or promotion. Some groups placed an even higher emphasis on this: 91% of those with eldercare responsibilities consider support with care an important factor in any new employer, as do 76% of parents with children aged 0-10 years.

Meanwhile, two fifths (40%) of respondents feel their employer is “sympathetic to childcare responsibilities and allows them to work flexibly or offers support to help them manage childcare”, which is the same as 2021’s Index. A further quarter (25%) find that their employer is “understanding, but only up to a point and does not offer any practical help with childcare”.

Over a third (35%) of working parents said their employer is not at all sympathetic, and of these, 39% rated their current stress levels at 8-10 (compared with 26% of overall participants).


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