2292 people responded to our 2015 survey
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.
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%
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.
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).
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.
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.