Working mums ‘consider quitting’ job because of childcare responsibilities


One in five working mothers have considered leaving their job due to the challenges of balancing work with childcare duties, new research suggests.

Childcare responsibilities have a disproportionate impact on women and their careers, according to a report by jobs site Totaljobs and the Fawcett Society.

A survey of 3,000 working parents indicated that one in 10 mothers have handed in their notice because of childcare duties, rising to around one in eight single mums.

Too many women are stuck in jobs that are below their capabilities, missing out on opportunities to progress their careers, and consigning them to the “mummy track” forever, said the report.

Three out of four working parents have had to take unpaid leave due to childcare responsibilities, with higher rates for women from non-white backgrounds and single mothers, the study indicated.

Most women have faced barriers trying to advance their career while managing childcare, and two in five have turned down a promotion or career development opportunity due to concerns it would not fit in with their childcare arrangements, the report said.

Children’s coats hanging in a creche (Niall Carson/PA)

Jane Lorigan, chief executive of Totaljobs said: “There are more mothers in the workplace than ever before, and businesses need to create an environment where they can flourish.

“With critical labour shortages, and the pressures of childcare could ultimately have a longer-term impact on our ever-shrinking workforce.

“Not only do working parents need more support, but we need to ensure this support extends to the people who need it the most.”

Jemima Olchawski, chief executive of the Fawcett Society said: “The few years that a mother spends looking after young children is a tiny proportion of her working life.

“Too often, outdated prejudices and assumptions mean that women face unnecessary and harmful attitudes that hold them back.

“This results in many women stuck in roles that are below their capabilities

“For business who are struggling to retain talent and combat ongoing skills shortages, the opportunity to develop promising careers that should never have stalled in the first place is an obvious step towards solving these issues.”

A Government spokesperson said: “We are delivering the single biggest investment in childcare in England’s history, providing 30 hours a week for working parents from nine months old up to when they start school, all backed by £8 billion a year once fully rolled out.

“Our Flexible Working Bill requires employers to consider any requests and provide a reason before rejection, and we have launched a call for evidence to increase understanding of the role of informal flexible working in supporting employees, including parents.”


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