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More than half of working mums would take a pay cut for a job which offered them an improved work-life balance, according to a new study.
The research, also revealed that the main causes of stress associated with working in a traditional office environment are: dealing with family emergencies, such as a child’s illness (54%), having to leave the office early to do the school run (19%) and meetings over-running (17%).
Of the 1,500 working mums who took part in the study, nearly two thirds (64%) have taken positive steps to improve their work-life balance since having children, with part-time working and working from home being the preferred solutions.
Pernilla Kemp, head of UK sales for Swedish clothing company me&i which commissioned the study, said: “The fact that more than half of those surveyed would take a pay cut for an improved work-life balance shows how much importance mums place on getting that balance right, and just how many are not quite there yet.
“While we have seen an increase in the number of working mums carving out an alternative career for themselves after children, by setting up their own businesses, going freelance or working for companies which have a more ‘mum-friendly’ business model, there are still many mums whose working situation since having children has changed very little and who feel the idea of work-life balance is just a myth.
“The truth is that working mums are in a better position than they have ever been to achieve the balance they crave. In the current economic climate, businesses are increasingly looking to find ways to cut costs, making them more open to discussions around alternative ways of working.”
Others, however, believe that, although wholesale changes to a more flexible working culture can save large amounts of money, for instance, on overheads if more staff work remotely, flexible workers should not be paid any less than colleagues who work more traditionally. “We do not want to end up with a system where women, for instance, are once again paid less than men even though they are performing to the same level as those who are not working flexibly,” said Mandy Garner, editor of Workingmums.co.uk. “If you are working part time you should be paid the same pro rata as someone doing the same job full time. What the survey shows is the huge demand for more flexible working and for a culture shift in the way we work.”