‘Mums remain positive despite childcare pressures of Covid’

A new survey by the #ChangeTheFace Alliance, led by Vodafone, finds that despite the increased pressures and impact on their career progression, parents remain positive about their work-life balance prospects after Covid.

Couple Protecting Balance Between Work And Life On Seesaw


Nearly half of mothers feel their work performance was negatively impacted due to increased childcare pressures during the pandemic yet three in four are confident that they’ll be able to maintain a work-life balance in future and the majority have a sense of positivity and ambition in themselves and their future careers, according to a new survey.

The survey of nearly 3,000 working parents, most of them mums, across UK, South Africa, Italy, Germany, Spain and Turkey is presented by the #ChangeTheFace Alliance, launched by Vodafone to share industry insights and best practice on diversity and inclusion for the wider global technology sector.

It found that:
• Mothers are almost twice as likely to agree that they take the lion’s share of childcare pressures and one in four spent less time on paid work as a result – but most said the time spent with children was a positive.
• Three in four mothers wished that they had more support through the pandemic, demonstrating that employers play an important role in future to offer both emotional and functional support mechanics to all parents.

The research looked at four key topics for working parents during the pandemic and beyond. They include the impact of Covid-19 on childcare and household management. It found that:

• 69% of mothers agreed they took on most of the pressure when it came to childcare and 62% felt stressed about balancing childcare with other elements of their lives since the pandemic started.
• The pandemic has had a positive impact on the sharing of childcare and household responsibilities, with the gap closing from the start of the pandemic to present.
• Despite the challenges of the pandemic, four in five parents said that they had enjoyed spending more time with their children.

Other topics include the impact of Covid-19 on working patterns. The survey found:

• Two in five parents had made changes to their working patterns because of the pandemic, and more than one in five had made changes to their career or type of job. A third of parents had made a change to their workplace, and a fifth were considering a change.
• Both mothers and fathers felt that balancing childcare and work had negatively impacted their performance at work, but were split on whether the pandemic had improved or worsened the situation.
• The research found that 53% of full-time working mothers and 46% of full-time working fathers had been working from home as a direct result of the pandemic, and that very few parents who wanted to work from home are not currently
doing so.
• For those who worked from home full-time, mothers tended to have to improvise in a common area while fathers were more likely to have a dedicated workspace
• There has been an impact on career progression across the board during the pandemic. More fathers said their greatest loss was in achieving a pay rise, while more mothers found that the pandemic stopped them from becoming more successful in their current roles or getting a new job.

The survey also looked at the role of the employer [two in five parents said more general support was needed to balance work and childcare than they received during the pandemic, for instance] and the post-pandemic plan [for example, parents remained positive about their career progression.

Meanwhile, nursery chain Bright Horizons UK has announced it is boosting the salaries and benefits of its early years staff to the tune of more than £10 million. The minimum salary in its London-based nurseries will be above the Voluntary Living Wage. It is also removing the age-related National Minimum Wage (NMW) for those under 23 so all employees will be on or above the NMW for over 23-year-olds.

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