Workingmums Annual Survey 2014 – Results


2391 people responded to our 2014 survey

Key demographics of our respondent base:

• 98% are women
• 24% are aged between 25-34 years old, 52% are between 35-44 years old, and 24% are either below 24 or above 45.
• 37% are the main breadwinner in their family unit. 17% earn more than their partners and 20% are the main breadwinner because they are a single parent.
• 56% make use of grandparents to reduce their childcare costs.
• 41% pay nothing for childcare (up 11% from last year’s responses), 11% pay up to £100 per month, 14% between £100 and £250 per month. 13% between £250 and £500 per month and 20% pay over £500 per month.
• The most common individual earning bracket is between £0k and £20k per year in their last job (56%) with 19% earning between £20k and £30k per year and 25% earned above £30k per year.
• The most common household income brackets for our user base is over 50k (32%). 12% have a household income between £40k and £50k per year and 13% have a household income between £30k and £40k per year. The rest have a household income less than £30k per year.
• 69% of the respondents are currently working.
• 56% are currently looking for a new job opportunity.
• 56% of these are looking to start in a new job as soon as possible (within the next 2 months).
• 72% have more than 10 years work experience, with 49% having more than 15 years experience.
• 34% are management level or above, with 32% having had more than 5 years management experience.

Being a working mum

49% feel that employers discriminate against women more in the current economic climate. 17% of our audience have a partner who works flexibly and 4% have a partner who works part time. Of those who have taken a career break to bring up their family, 34% say that they cannot find a suitable job in their field, 17% have found a job but not in their field, 24% have found a job in their field but at a lower level than they were before their career break, and 12% say they have not found a job with as much flexibility as they would like.

Respondents who are working

41% of those working returned to the same job they were in before maternity leave, whilst 59% returned to a new job after their last period off work.

59% of those working had 12 months or less of work before returning. 25% took between 1-6 months off, and 34% took 7-12 months off. 23% had more than 2 years away from working. 46% have returned to work earlier than expected due to the economic situation.

Most respondents got the flexible working they requested, but 23% did not with 11% feeling their employer did not even consider their request at all

Generally women are returning to work for financial reasons (70%). 24% were at the end of their agreed maternity leave, 24% 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.

When returning to work after maternity leave, 56% returned part time (up 4% on 2013 results). 15% returned with some other kind of flexibility and 29% returned full time.

64% of those working consider their job to be flexible. Of those working part time, 47% do their agreed hours only, while 53% do between one and eight hours extra work per week. 74% are logging on to emails outside of their working hours, with 48% doing so regularly.

53% said that more flexible working would aid them in their career development, whilst 48% think that more flexibility in senior roles would help. 19% thought networking opportunities would be useful, and 15% thought mentoring would help. 28% think training will help.

Of those working parents surveyed, only 21% said that they shared housework and childcare evenly with their partner. 37% are the main breadwinner in their family unit – 20% are single parents and 17% earn more than their partners.

56% are earning less than they did before having children, based on what would be their full time salary and 44% would consider sharing maternity leave with their partner.

14% are on a zero hours contract or variable shifts – of these 54% prefer it as it offers flexibility, but 17% find it difficult to arrange all the childcare they need. 28% like it for the flexibility but also find it a challenge with childcare.

4% work on a job share basis.

60% feel like they have to work harder in the workplace to overcome unconscious bias against working mums/flexible workers.


In terms of reducing their childcare costs, 56% use grandparents to help out, 18% get help from other relatives, 23% have friends to help them, 25% use childcare vouchers, 18% use tax credits and 8% have older siblings helping out (many use a combination of these methods). 58% think their childcare arrangements are flexible enough for their needs, whilst 42% find it difficult to arrange all the childcare they need.

For after school care, parents value the following most: Affordable after school clubs – 47%, Grandparents picking the children up after school – 19%, Schools staying open for longer hours to suit working parents – 24% and flexible childcare such as an au pair or nanny – 9%.

Of those not currently working, a much higher percentage are considering nursery – 49%. 20% plan to use a childminder, 24% grandparents or another relative and 6% live in nanny or au pair.

33% of respondents are in favour of shorter Summer holidays as it is difficult to arrange childcare. 46% disagree as they feel the children need the time off school. 52% are against schools as a setting for childcare for two year olds.

Respondents who are not working

Most of our respondents who are not working were last in paid employment in the last 12 months (45%). 34% left work to have children and be a stay at home mum/dad, 23% were made redundant, 5% left because their request for flexible working was denied, 10% wanted a change and 11% found juggling it all too hard. 16% are currently on maternity/paternity leave. 57% say that childcare costs are preventing them from returning to work.

60% would accept a position which paid them less than they were earning before, in order to achieve a flexible working pattern.

Of those currently on maternity leave, the following would help;

Access to work emails during maternity leave – 19%
Regular meetings leading up to the return to work – 27%
Attending work social events – 18%
Staggered return to work – 43%
Employer acceptance of flexible working hours on return to work – 89%

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% rating it as important). However, emotional factors seem to play a part – 76% want to work to boost their self esteem, 63% want adult company and 56% want to get out of the house. Career factors also plays a part – 60% want to continue on their set career path, and 85% enjoy their job.

Despite the financial reasons, when asked, 60% say that if money was not an issue they would still want to work.

What kinds of working do parents value most?

Homeworking came out top at 32%, closely followed by flexi-hours (30%). 23% said they would value working term time only, 7% would value remote working, 6% compressed hours and 2% job shares.

Asked what would attract them to an organisation, 58% said corporate values and culture, 55% positive employer brand and 28% a strong female presence in senior management or leadership roles.

What factors make a family friendly company?

We asked what factors our users thought made a ‘family friendly company’. Offering flexible hours for full time jobs was rated highest at 79%, followed by allowing regular work at home (74%), offering part time jobs (66%), offering more flexibility during school holidays (73%) and allowing holiday days to be taken at short notice to deal with sick children etc (67%). Less important were extended maternity pay periods, networking and support groups, parenting courses and childcare help (although at 54% this still rated fairly high compared to the other items).

Working full time

64% say that homeworking for some of the time would encourage them to work full time.

Other factors which would encourage them to work full time include:

Flexible working hours – 63%
Finding a job close to home – 50%
Job satisfaction – 49%
Working term time only – 53%
Understanding employer – 40%
Cheaper childcare – 38%
Compressed hours – 30%


64% of our audience are interested in retraining, and 70% would be more likely to retrain if the courses were flexible. 53% have retrained within the last 3 years.

Starting a business or franchise

63% have considered setting up their own business or franchise (57% last year). In terms of life-cycle, 62% are just considering it, 10% have a business idea and are working on a plan, 10% are looking for an idea/franchise opportunity to fit and 21% are in the early stages of setting up. 65% would find access to business funding useful, 52% would like advice on writing a business plan, 50% want ideas on the kinds of business they could start, 22% want advice on IT infrastructure and 48% would like business mentoring. Only 16% need advice on hiring staff.


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