Working mums call for greater employer flexibility

The majority of working mothers are still frustrated by the lack of flexible working positions available, according to a survey.

Over 1,000 mothers were surveyed by The research found that employers may be allowing some of their top talent to slip through their fingers, with 75 per cent of respondents admitting that they are currently looking for a new job. Fifty-five per cent of mothers said they started a new job after taking time off for children.

Other key findings include:

  • 73 per cent of mothers felt that the lack of appropriate and available flexible jobs is the biggest barrier upon returning to work;
  • 86 per cent said that flexi-hours are the most desired working condition;
  • 16 per cent said their request for flexible working was turned down, sometimes with no consideration being given to it at all. Only 31 per cent got the flexibility they requested, with 26 per cent achieving a compromise with managers.

The most important factors for those returning to work, after flexible working, were being able to ease back into the job by increasing hours worked over time; being given time to settle back into work; being set clear targets and goals; and being able to keep in touch with work during maternity leave, including having a series of meetings with managers prior to return.

However, although more than half of the mums surveyed said their employers made the right amount of effort to stay in contact during maternity leave, some 22 per cent had no contact at all and a third wanted more contact.

Mothers would rather be able to work more flexibly than extend their maternity leave entitlement

Some 85 per cent of respondents to annual research by said that flexible hours was their most important consideration, while only 31 per cent thought that extending maternity pay was a priority.

Although three quarters of respondents (76 per cent) found their employers supportive, the number with unsupportive bosses was 24 per cent, which remains unchanged from last year.

Furthermore, the number of working mums working full time is lower than last year (24 per cent), while 60 per cent did part time jobs. A majority of respondents are being paid less than they were before taking maternity leave. That suggests that many had taken less challenging jobs for the sake of flexibility, according to

A high proportion of women (48 per cent) had not discussed flexible working options before going on maternity leave, and a significant number (32 per cent) were not aware of the extension of flexible working entitlement to parents of children under 16.

See also: What working mothers want most

Related Topics

Flexible Working