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Nearly three-quarters of women in Australia believe having a child impacts a person’s ability to achieve career goals, compared with slightly more than half of men, according to recent research from Morgan McKinley Australia.
The poll of 873 professionals shows that whilst only 15% of survey respondents had opted out of the workplace for more than 12 months, the overwhelming majority of those who did (69%) had done so to look after and care for dependants.
Although some 80% of organisations offer some form of flexible working, 30% of respondents said they had chosen not to apply for a promotion over the past year and 60% of these say the main reason for not doing so was that they felt they would not be able to achieve a work life balance in a more senior role.
Some 77% of respondents wanted a tailored approach to flexible working (flexi hours, extra time during school holidays, working at home) that meets individual needs rather than a blanket provision.
Vanessa Harding-Farrenberg, Joint Managing Director of Morgan McKinley Australia, said:
“These latest findings highlight a mismatch: organisations are introducing programmes of flexible working, but women are often reluctant, or lack the confidence, to apply for senior roles.
As a result, organisations are forced to look for new leaders in a limited talent pool.
“To address this situation, organisations need to be much more supportive of women who are in their first and second management roles.
This is the time when women may be starting a family and are thrown outside of their comfort zone.”
She added that careful coaching, visible role models and providing women with the tools they need, early in their careers, would ensure they could “take positive ownership of their careers”.