Why it pays to be transparent about parent-friendly policies

Geraldine Gallacher and Helen Ilsley of the Executive Coaching Consultancy argue that transparency on parent-friendly policies is vital for employers looking to plug labour shortages.

Woman working at the kitchen table on a laptop whilst baby and man look on


As a working parent you may still be recovering from Covid -19 ..even if you didn’t get the virus. Society as a whole suffered, none more than the bereaved, but the toll on working parents was also severe. That’s evidenced by the number of parents, mainly women, who left the workforce during the pandemic. The burden of homeschooling proved too much for some dual career couples who defaulted to the traditional role of mum as care-giver and dad as the bread winner.

Managing a houseful of people and holding down two jobs was hard enough, but the added stress of homeschooling and possibly looking after an ageing relative too was simply unsustainable.

This shrinkage of the talent pool, commonly described as the Great Resignation, comes at a difficult time for employers who have suddenly been thrust into a buyer’s market. For the first time in years, the number of vacant jobs outpaces the number of available people to fill them.

Less transparency

For this reason, it seems like an opportune moment for employers to double down on their efforts to attract parents. And yet, what we found in our most recent Parental Fog Index, which tracks the transparency of employers’ efforts to promote their credentials to working parents, is that many organisations slipped in the rankings; in other words, their websites became less transparent than the previous year.

The gold standard of transparency has to be clarity about the specifics of an employer’s parental policies. The good news is that there was an increase in the number of organisations who reached our coveted Beacon status. That is good news which helps to counterbalance the significant number of women we coach who say they can’t find the information easily from their own intranet!

So what?

At the Executive Cocahing Consultancy we host a platform called Work, Family and You and it’s open to anyone. The most accessed content is in the Thinking Ahead section where employees are clearly very hungry for information about what happens to your career when you’re expecting a baby. I think this proves that when you promote your credentials to working parents you are not just influencing them; you are actually sending a positive signal out to the generation of talent coming up behind them.

Roughly 80% of your employees will be parents and so it’s essential that employers recognise this significant pool of talent and promote everything they have got going for them to support working parents on their websites, which is the first port of call for job seekers. Check out whether your company features on the Parental Fog Index and if you are one of the Beacon employers make sure you beam your light brightly.

*Geraldine Gallacher is CEO of the Executive Coaching Consultancy and Helen Ilsley is co-author of the Parental Fog Index report.

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