Research from LinkedIn suggests that a third (36 per cent) of UK professionals believe their employer does not do enough to support new parents. Based on a survey of 4,000 UK workers LinkedIn found that professionals feel they are being left in the dark when it comes to parental policies, with a third (37 per cent) not even aware of what support their workplace provides for new parents. At the same time, nearly two thirds (60 per cent) said their employer was not completely transparent about its parental policies when they joined.
The two biggest challenges facing working parents were identified as flexible working arrangements and the cost of childcare. Flexible working was cited by 38 per cent of workers as the most desirable policy for supporting parents, and LinkedIn’s Global Talent Trends report found that nearly nine in 10 (84 per cent) UK businesses believe it helps employees achieve better work/life satisfaction.
However, nearly two fifths of women (38 per cent) say they feel uncomfortable discussing flexible hours with their boss. The top reasons for this include feeling their employer sees flexible working as an inconvenience (41 per cent), fearing they will say no to requests (40 per cent), feeling they will be seen as needy for requesting it ( 37 per cent), and fearing they will be seen as less productive or committed to their job (33 per cent).
When it comes to childcare costs, just 23 per cent of UK workers feel it is financially worthwhile returning to work after having a child. The average UK worker feels that covering the cost of childcare comfortably requires a household income of over £55,000 a year, with this rising to £73,000 in Greater London – a far reach from the average salary (£29,832 outside of London and £44,714 in Greater London).
As a result, parents are considering their options after returning to work. A quarter (26 per cent) – rising to 29 per cent for women – have considered switching careers altogether to find a job that is more accommodating to working families. And half of parents said that they delayed having a child – on average for up to two and a half years – in anticipation of the childcare bills they would have to cover.
The release of the figures comes as LinkedIn finds this week – 18th March specifically – is the day that working families only just start getting paid for the year, once growing childcare costs are taken into account.
“Flexible working is becoming one of the hot topics working parents discuss with their LinkedIn communities,” Jon Addison, head of talent solutions at LinkedIn UK, commented: “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.
“The birth of a baby is a life-changing moment and businesses 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,” he concluded.