As millions of people return to work this week, rather than the ‘January Blues’, new research amongst working mums reveals a positive view of the year ahead.
The survey of mums across the UK was carried out by flexible working specialists 2to3days and FEEL to find out the priorities of being a working parent. The results challenge the negative perception that one comes at the expense of the other.
Most are upbeat about the year ahead. The majority would prefer to work (83%) rather than give up their jobs and be at home. 73% are motivated by the different challenges that work brings and 66% see the importance of being a role model to their children.
Surprisingly, at the year that is going to see Gender Pay Gap legislation coming into force in the UK, only 4% said being paid fairly was among their top priorities, and came well below reliable childcare, a supportive partner and a supportive corporate culture or manager. The biggest priority for more than half of mums (51%) is the option to work flexibly. A quarter (25%) look for a trusting manager whilst only 7% of respondents selected a salary that recognises their skills as their number one criteria.
Jane Johnson, MD of FEEL Communications, which recruits mums with senior level experience who want to work flexibly says;
“We have a network of associates who passionately believe in their own career development but have chosen to do this around their family commitments. Because we work with clients who offer flexible working arrangements, our clients can reach talented experienced women who would otherwise be inaccessible to them. Some companies struggle to keep women in their workforce after having a family so there is clearly more that needs to be done but our research shows the positive attitude and value that many mothers bring to the workforce.”
Eight out of 10 mums regularly work outside of their contracted hours. 86% clock up to eight hours a week extra to keep up. However, 32% believe that the hours don’t matter as long as the job is done. Getting home on time to the family also means that office gossip and socialising with colleagues are sacrificed by 73%. 62% of working mums say their relationships with co-workers have changed as they don’t spend as much time in the office.
Juliet Turnbull, founder of 2to3days, a specialist job community which matches and connects employers to mums who want to do a stimulating job on a part- time flexible basis whilst raising their children says:
“The consistent feedback that we have had from employers who have successfully used our site is that they are blown away with the calibre of our candidates and the cost-effective ease of finding them. Whilst from the mothers it is palpable relief that our site exists.“
However, with 98% looking for a part-time or flexible role, figures released last year convey a shortfall of opportunities from employers. Currently only 8.7 per cent of jobs advertised in the UK offer flexible working options at salaries of £20,000+ FTE, highlighting the need for change.
Within the context of life as a working mother, childcare was rated the most important aspect by over a third of working mums closely followed by a supportive partner (31%).