According to a recent study by Santander, the UK’s working mums need more support to balance work and family life, and continue building their careers.
The study of over 2,000 women examined how working mums balance work and family – and revealed that only 33% of mums who returned to work after having children believed that their career progression hadn’t been affected by their time off.
Over a quarter (26%) of working mums said that they had changed careers after starting a family to get a better work-life balance. 26% also said that the job they had changed to was less professionally rewarding.
Another 9% opted for a career break to raise their family, while 6% said they had given up work completely because they couldn’t make it work with their family responsibilities.
Simon Lloyd, HR director at Santander UK, says of the results:
“These findings show that companies need to do more to help women achieve a suitable balance between family and work that allows them to achieve their career aspirations. We believe that the loss of talented, experienced women from Britain’s companies is one of the biggest challenges that need to be overcome if the UK is to compete in an increasingly competitive global marketplace.”
Santander also researched ways in which employers could help working mums catch up in their careers after taking time out. 56% of women said they wanted companies to guarantee the opportunity of working in the same role as before they had children on a more flexible or part time basis, while 33% said they’d like the chance to work from home, as long as their role isn’t fixed to a specific location.
30% of working mums think that companies should create tailored career development plans specifically designed to help them catch up in their career – both during pregnancy and after they go back to work. Another 25% of all women believe that working mums need mentoring or coaching to help them catch up in their career after maternity leave.
Commenting on the results of the research, Michelle Ryan, Professor of Social and Organisational Psychology, Associate Dean for Research in the College of Life and Environmental Sciences, Exeter University said:
“…it’s clear that employers need to create workplaces which offer real flexibility that reflect the needs of today’s employees if we’re to see women appropriately represented at senior management level in the future. We need a step change in attitudes to flexible working in order to help create diverse businesses that fully reflect society.”