Almost two-fifths (36%) of UK employees believe that their employer does not do enough to support staff who have become parents, according to research by professional network website LinkedIn.
In a survey conducted by Censuswide in March 2019, among 4,000 UK adults in either full or part-time employment, LinkedIn also found that 37% of respondents are not aware of what support their workplace provides for new parents, while three-fifths (60%) stated that their employer was not completely transparent about its parental policies when they joined the organisation.
Flexible working was cited by 38% of those surveyed as the most desirable system for catering to the needs of employees with caring responsibilities. However, 38% of female respondents stated that they are uncomfortable discussing flexible arrangements with their managers.
Among the primary reasons for this are concerns that the employer might see flexibility as an inconvenience (41%), that they will say no to requests (40%), or that the employee will seem needy (37%) or less productive and committed to their job (33%).
Jon Addison, head of talent solutions at LinkedIn UK, commented: “Flexible working is becoming one of the hot topics working parents discuss with their LinkedIn communities. However, our research reveals that many employees still don’t feel comfortable talking about flexible working options, and would even consider switching careers to find a job that better matches their family commitments.”
When weighing up pay against the cost of providing childcare during working hours, only 23% of UK employees stated that returning to work after having a child was financially worthwhile. Just over a quarter (26%) of overall respondents, and 29% among women, confirmed that they had considered switching careers altogether so as to find more accommodating employment.
Addison continued: “The birth of a baby is a life-changing moment and [employers] have a huge role to play to help working parents and consider how they can support their employees through flexible working options, whether that be the option to work at home or introducing flexi-time initiatives, or even being open to have that conversation to begin with.”