Workingmums Annual Survey 2013 – Results

2969 people responded to our 2013 survey

Key demographics of our respondent base:

• 98% are women
• 31% are aged between 25 – 34 years old, 49% are between 35-44 years old, and 21% are either below 24 or above 45.
• 60% have at least 2 children; 45% have at least one child under 5, 39% have at least one child over 5 and under 16.
• 37% are the main breadwinner in their family unit (up 2% on last year, and up 7% on 2011). 8% are the main breadwinner due to a partners redundancy or reduced hours. 19.5% are the main breadwinner because they are a single parent.
• 53% make use of grandparents for their childcare needs (up 5% since last year, and 10% since 2011), 39% use nurseries, whilst the rest use childminders, friends or other family. A very small percentage (4%) use a nanny or Au Pair.
• 36% pay nothing for childcare, 15% pay up to £100 per month, 16% between £100 and £250 per month. 16% between £250 and £500 per month and 18% pay over £500 per month.
• The most common individual earning bracket is between £10k and £20k per year in their last job (28%) with 29% earning under £10k. 24% earned between £20k and £30k per year and 22% earned above £30k per year.
• The most common household income brackets for our user base is over 50k (28%). 13% have a household income between £40k and £50k per year and 16% have a household income between £30k and £40k per year. The rest have a household income less than £30k per year.
• 65% of the respondents are currently working.
• 50% are currently looking for a new job opportunity.
• 55% of these are looking to start in a new job as soon as possible (within the next 2 months).
• 69% have more than 10 years work experience, with 44% having more than 15 years experience.
• 34% are management level or above, with 30% having had more than 5 years management experience.

Being a working mum

42% of our respondents said they thought working mums were portrayed negatively in the press, and 53% feel that employers discriminate against women more in the current economic climate. 20% of our audience have a partner who works flexibly and 4% have a partner who works part time.

Respondents who are working

45% returned to the same job they were in before maternity leave, whearas 55% returned to a new job after a period off work.

62% of those working had less than 12 months off before returning to work. 32% took between 1-6 months off, and 30% took 7-12 months off. 23% had more than 2 years away from working.

Generally women are returning to work for financial reasons (65%). 28% were at the end of their agreed maternity leave, 22% wanted to continue on their career path and 13% wanted a new challenge. 11% returned to work because their partner was made redundant, or they became a single parent.

Of those who returned to the same employer, 52% returned on a part time basis, with 17% working with another kind of flexibility and 31% returning to full time employment.

All those currently working 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 (75% rating very important), even surpassing part time hours which 63% rated as very important.Of those working part time, 53% do their agreed hours only, while 47% do between one and eight hours extra work per week.

71% of those parents who are working say they consider their job to be either flexible, very flexible or extremely flexible, but 56% are earning less than they were before they had children (based on a full time wage).

73% of working mums log on after work hours to check emails, 50% do so regularly.

70% said that more flexible working would aid them in their career development, whilst 30% thought networking opportunities would be useful, and 24% thought mentoring would help.

Of those working parents surveyed, only 27% said that they shared housework and childcare evenly with their partner. 38% are the main breadwinner in their family unit – 20% are single parents and 18% earn more than their partners.


53% of our respondents use Grandparents for childcare, 40% use a nursery or creche, and 20% use childminders. 18% have friends looking after their children, 17% use other family members and 4% use nannies or au pairs. 5% use casual baby sitters for some of their childcare.

In terms of reducing their childcare costs, 62% use grandparents to help out, 20% get help from other relatives, 25% have friends to help them and 23% use childcare vouchers. 61% think their childcare arrangements are flexible enough for their needs, whilst 39% find it difficult to arrange all the childcare they need.

In their childcare choices 31% value experience most, 24% value personality most, 23% consider affordability more important, and 22% value the childcare being local most.

83% recruit child-carers via word of mouth, 11% use an online platform such as, 9% use a personal or classified advert and 7% use an agency.

For after school care, parents value the following most: Affordable after school clubs – 46%, Grandparents picking the children up after school – 25%, Schools staying open for longer hours to suit working parents – 22% and flexible childcare such as an au pair or nanny – 7%.

41% would consider sharing maternity leave with their partner.

Respondents who are not working

Most of our respondents who are not working were last in paid employment in the last 12 months (43%). 39% left work to have children and be a stay at home mum/dad, 23% were made redundant (up 3% on 2011), 4% left because their request for flexible working was denied, 7% wanted a change and 12% found juggling it all too hard. 58% say that childcare costs are preventing them from returning to work.

36% would like a staggered return to work

Of those thinking of returning to their current job (as they are currently on maternity leave), the following were deemed helpful:

  • Access to work emails during maternity leave – 16%
  • Regular meetings leading up to the return to work – 24%
  • Attending work social events – 20%
  • Staggered return to work – 36%
  • Employer acceptance of flexible work hours upon return – 72%

Of those currently on maternity leave, 44% have not discussed flexible working hours yet, 12% are already agreed, 10% are negotiating and 19% have had their request refused. 15% don’t want flexible working.

The greatest barrier so far to returning to work is the lack of available flexible jobs (48%). Lack of appropriate flexible jobs is also an issue (40%). 15% feel guilty about leaving the child(ren) (27% last year) and 24% want to be a stay at home mum. Lack of confidence does not seem to be an issue for most. 29% feel a lack of confidence is a barrier to returning to work.

How do they feel about returning to work? Well guilt and worry about travel and logistics seem like the biggest issues (47% and 53% respectively). 58% would accept a job which paid less than they had earned before in return for flexible working conditions.

For those respondents who are not working, they most need childcare to cover their children’s different school pick up times (42%). 31% need childcare so they can get chores and errands done, 16% so they can keep appointments like hairdressers or dentists, and 11% so they can keep up with their hobbies. For non-working respondents, their preferred childcare option are grandparents or other family (52%), followed by nursery or childminder (40%), live in help such as nanny or au pair (5%) and finally local teenager or babysitter (4%). 77% recruit childcarers via word of mouth, 13% use an agency and 11% use either an online platform such as or an online or print classified advert.

When asked what they valued most about after school care the responses were as follows; 54% don’t use after school care, 27% think it is good for children to socialise and learn new skills and hobbies, 13% see it as an opportunity to get things done, 6% think it represents good value for money.

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, 66% want adult company and 59% want to get out of the house. Career factors also plays a part – 55% want to continue on their set career path, and 75% enjoy their job.

Working full time

66% 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 – 64%
  • Finding a job close to home – 53%
  • Job satisfaction – 45%
  • Working term time only – 54%
  • Understanding employer – 40%
  • Cheaper childcare – 44%
  • Compressed hours – 38%

What factors make a family friendly company?

Retraining and re-entering the job marketWe asked what factors our users thought made a ‘family friendly company’. Offering flexible hours for full time jobs was rated highest at 83%, followed by allowing regular work at home (73%), offering part time jobs (71%), offering more flexibility during school holidays (73%) and allowing holiday days to be taken at short notice to deal with sick children etc (73%). Less important were extended maternity pay periods, networking and support groups, parenting courses and childcare help (although at 58% this still rated fairly high compared to the other items).

60% of our audience are interested in retraining, and 65% would be more likely to retrain if the courses were flexible. 51% have retrained within the last 3 years.  For those who took a career break, 40% said they cannot find a suitable job in their field. 19% have taken a lower level job in their field (up 7% on 2011), 10% have found a position but it lacks flexibility and 19% have found a job but not in their previous field of work (also up 7% on 2011 responses).

Starting a business or franchise

57% have considered setting up their own business or franchise (62% last year). In terms of life-cycle, 64% are just considering it, 13% have a business idea and are working on a plan, 9% are looking for an idea/franchise opportunity to fit and 20% are in the early stages of setting up. 67% would find access to business funding useful, 53% would like advice on writing a business plan, 50% want ideas on the kinds of business they could start, 24% want advice on IT infrastructure and 43% would like business mentoring. Only 14% need advice on hiring staff.


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