Workingmums Annual Survey 2010 – Results

1845 people responded to our 2010 survey

Key demographics of our respondent base:

• 99% are women
• 31% are aged between 25 – 34 years old, 47% are between 35-44 years old, and 22% are either below 24 or above 45.
• 60% have at least 2 children; 47% have at least one child under 5, the rest having at least one child over 5 and under 16.
• The most common individual earning bracket is between £10k and £20k per year (30%). 28% earned under £10k per year, 20% between £20k and £30k per year, 11% between £30k and £40k per year, 6% between £40k and £50k and 5% above £50k per year.
• 30% are the main breadwinner in their family unit.
• 44% make use of grandparents for their childcare needs, 40% use nurseries, whilst the rest use childminders, friends or other family. A very small percentage (4%) use a nanny or Au Pair.
• 44% pay nothing for childcare, 23% pay up to £250 per month, 24% between £250 and £750 per month. 9% pay over £750 per month.
• The most common household income brackets for our user base is over 50k (22%) The next biggest band is between £20k and £30k per year
• 50% of the respondents are currently working
• 75% are currently looking for a new job opportunity
• 63% of these are looking to start in a new job as soon as possible (within the next 2 months)

Respondents who are working

Fifty one percent returned to a new job after a period off work, while 49% returned to their previous job after maternity leave.Most people seem to have taken 7-12 months out of work (32%) with 36% taking between 1-6 months and 32% being off work for more than a year.People return to work because they need the money (70%), were at the end of agreed maternity leave (27%), continuing on a career path (22%) and wanting a new challenge (16%).

Of those working part time, 56% do their agreed hours only, but 44% do between one and eight hours extra work per week, and 68% do not get paid overtime for this.Fifty two percent returned to their employer on a part time basis, with 13% working with another kind of flexibility and 35% returning to full time employment.

How did they feel about returning to work?

Mostly respondents felt apprehensive and guilty about leaving their children, but many also felt excited about returning to work.All agree that flexibility is really important, most rating all the flexibility choices as very important to them (apart from compressed hours) – but flexi hours came out as the most important (76% rating very important), even surpassing part time hours which 66% rated as very important.Sixty nine percent of those parents who are working say they consider their job to be either flexible, very flexible or extremely flexible, but 55% are earning less than they were before they had children. Most found that their employer was supportive upon their return to work (77%).

Of those who requested flexible or part time working upon their return to work, most felt that they got what they requested, or reached a good compromise (53%).

67% thought that they maintained about the right level of contact with their employer during their maternity leave. 35% had regular contact with members of their team/company, 21% maintained access to work emails, and 33% attended (or were invited to) social functions.

Respondents who are not working

Most of our respondents who are not working were last in paid employment in the last 12 months (52%). Thirty six percent left work to have children and be a stay at home mum/dad, 26% were made redundant, 14% are currently on maternity leave, 5% left because their request for flexible working was denied, 9% wanted a change and 10% found juggling it all too hard. Forty percent say that childcare costs are preventing them from returning to work.

Those looking for a new jobs say that the following would be helpful;  Help on CV writing – 42%, workshops on interview techniques – 28%, talking to other working mums for advice – 32%, staggered return to work – 43% and refresher courses on IT or professional skills – 53%.

39% would like to see
a staggered return
to work after maternity leave

Of those thinking of returning to their current job, the following were deemed helpful:Access to work emails during maternity leave – 18%
Regular meetings leading up to the return to work – 23%
Attending work social events – 25%
Staggered return to work – 39%
Employer acceptance of flexible work hours upon return – 80%

Of those currently on maternity leave, 44% have not discussed flexible working hours yet, 15% are already agreed, 12% are negotiating and 20% have had their request refused. 9% don’t want flexible working.

The greatest barrier so far to returning to work is the lack of appropriate flexible jobs (57%), closely followed by lack of available flexible jobs (53%). Childcare costs are a barrier for 40%, 26% are guilty about leaving the child(ren) and 24% want to be a stay at home mum. Lack of confidence does not seem to be an issue.

How do they feel about returning to work? Well guilt and worry about travel and logistics seem like the biggest issues (24% and 25% respectively). And 55% would accept a job which paid less than they had earned before in return for flexible working conditions.

Why do mums go back to work?

As reflected in other questions, the overriding reason mums will be returning to work is that they need the money (94%). However, emotional factors seem to play a part – 75% want to work to boost their self esteem, 67% want adult company and 58% want to get out of the house. Career factors also plays a part – 53% want to continue on their set career path, and 82% enjoy their job.

Working full time

76% say that homeworking for some of the time would encourage them to work full time.

Other factors which would encourage them include:

Flexible working hours – 69%

Finding a job close to home – 65%

Job satisfaction – 55%

Working term time only – 55%

Understanding employer – 44%

Cheaper childcare – 42%

Compressed hours – 43%


What factors make a family friendly company?

Well our respondents thought that offering flexible hours for full time jobs was most important (84%), followed by allowing some regular work at home (83%), offering part time jobs (77%), allowing short notice holidays for sick children etc (75%), helping with childcare (63%). Less important were extending maternity pay period (31%), offering networking and support groups (20%) and offering parenting courses (11%).

What do mums find difficult about returning to work?

Most working mums find it difficult to fit in all home related tasks (70%), although this is closely followed with finding suitable childcare (65%). Many also thought it was difficult getting everyone ready to leave on the working day – 59%, to fit in all work-related tasks – 46% and to deal with comments/strained atmosphere from co-workers – 27%.

A total of 43% of mums would consider sharing their maternity leave with their partner, 61% say childcare vouchers are important to them, 73% that family tax credits are important, but only 45% consider Surestart important.


Sixty six percent are interested in retraining, whilst only 46% of people have retrained in the last one to three years; 71% say they would be more likely to retrain if courses offered were flexible.


A total of 73% think they can get new skills and develop existing ones by volunteering, whilst 81% associate it with helping a good cause, 65% with getting job experience and 50% with boosting confidence. 62% would consider volunteering – 44% would consider volunteering up to 3 hours a week, 12% between 3-5 hours per week. 6% more than 5 hours per week.

Starting a business/franchise

As many as 63% have considered setting up their own business or franchise.

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