workingmums.co.uk’s annual survey shows how the cost of living crisis is impacting some mums more than others.
Rebecca Howe* is a single mum of a three year old. She has worked at her company for over 20 years and is communications and engagement lead. As she is not receiving any financial support from the father of her child, she is having to increase from three to four days a week, although she is worried about the extra childcare costs as well as losing precious time with her daughter. Her parents are helping her to pay off debts of up to £5K. She says: “I am worrying about money for the first time in forever – and it’s stressful, especially as I am on one income.”
Rebecca is one of nearly half [49%] of mums surveyed as part of workingmums.co.uk’s annual survey who have debts from one to £20K. One in 10 is shouldering debts of over £20K. Ninety per cent of mums in work have not had a salary rise in line with inflation.
Analysing the results shows that single parents like Rebecca are in a significantly worse position than those in couples. They are more likely to be in debt and twice as likely to have visited a food bank in the last year. They are also significantly more likely to say their mental health has deteriorated in the last two years – 65% vs 54% – and more likely to have children who have had mental health issues – 30% vs 19%. In addition they are much more likely to say finances have affected their mental health – 72% vs 46% – and significantly less likely to have had any pay rise or a pay rise in line with inflation. They are also more likely to be looking to move job or increase their hours for more pay – 70% vs 58%.
Meanwhile, the number of children a woman has can have a significant impact on her working life, and sometimes not in the way you might think. For instance, those with three or more children are more likely than those with two or one child to work full time with no flexibility. They are also more likely to be looking to increase their hours, to seek promotion and to be in debt. They are more than twice as likely as families with two children to have used a food bank in the last year.
Interestingly, while those with three children are much more likely to say their career has stalled after having children than those with one child, those with two children are the most likely to say this and the most likely to say their mental health has deteriorated in the last two years even though they are the least likely to say their finances have affected their mental health. However, mums with three or more children are more likely to say their children’s mental health has suffered.
*Not her real name