WorkingMums survey

Anxious about returning to work after maternity leave? A survey of over 600 of our readers found mums were worried about going back to work due to lack of confidence and difficulties in finding flexible work that matches their skills. Read more

Are you anxious about returning to work after maternity leave? You’re not alone. A survey of over 600 of our readers found many are concerned about going back to work because they lack confidence and feel it is hard to find flexible work that matches their skills.

• 53% of you told us you lack confidence after an extended period out of the job market
• 90% say it is very difficult to find flexible work
• 86% feel flexible jobs seem to pay less than the same full-time positions.

83% of you told us you feel that it is hard to find flexible jobs which use your skills. The majority of our readers – 55% – would prefer to work at home – only 6% say working from home does not appeal to them. However, 39% of you say you would like to work from home some of the time, indicating that flexibility is key. 73% say you would prefer to work part-time (less than 35 hours a week), but a significant number – 27% – would like to work full time if childcare costs and school hours were not an issue. The majority – 68% – would prefer to be employed rather than self-employed, suggesting that job security is very important.

Most working mums told us the most important priority is flexibility, followed by location and, finally, salary. When asked about employers’ attitudes to working parents, 55% of you think employers have little or no understanding of the challenges facing working parents, although 58% believe flexible working will become more available over time.

Childcare was another hurdle in the return to work. 95% of you agree that childcare is very expensive and 88% say there are not enough flexible childcare options available. Although 30% have family and friends to help with childcare, 43% spend more than £250 a month on childcare. 39% of mothers who do not work said high childcare costs was a factor.

You  were split on your attitude to childcare: 36% felt happy with the childcare on offer whilst 40% were unhappy (24% had no strong feelings about this). 74% of you say you feel guilty about leaving your children while you work, and 61% worry that your children suffer because you work. Nevertheless, 50% of working mums say their children benefits from their childcare arrangements.

52% of mothers who work would prefer to stay at home, but have to work for financial reasons. 37% say they want to work. However, 74% told us that work boosts their self-esteem and 68% say they enjoy their work. 67% of you would prefer more flexible working conditions than you currently have and 91% want to see more part-time, home-based job opportunities in the job market. 71% of mothers who are not working did not return to work because of a lack of flexible and part-time jobs on offer. However, 48% said they did not return to work because they wanted to be a stay-at-home parent and 67% didn’t miss working life. was set up to support and provide opportunities to professional women looking for flexible, part-time office and home-based opportunities and full time jobs with family friendly employers. currently has a database of over 7,000 candidates and over 800 employers nationwide. Jobs currently available include a PR job for a design agency which is happy to accommodate working from home on a regular basis, a marketing director job for a business investment firm which is mainly working from home, a part-time geoscientist post for an energy consultancy firm as well as home-based telemarketing and IT support roles.

The survey involved more than 600 respondents, 99% of whom were mothers and 1% fathers. 41% were aged between 25 and 34, 43% between 35 and 44 and 15% were either below 24 or above 45. 53% had two or more children with most having at least one child under the age of 5. Most were in households with either an annual income of between £20k and £30k or an income of over £50k. 54% are currently working. 77% are looking for a new job. 40% are looking to start a new job as soon as possible.

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