95% of surveyed working mothers 'would switch jobs for more flexibility'

95% of surveyed working mothers 'would switch jobs for more flexibility'

A survey of more than 1,000 working mums found almost every one of them would switch jobs if it gave her more flexibility.

The survey from RecruitIreland.com in association with MummyPages.ie confirms some of the difficulties faced by mums trying to balance home and working life.

It found:

- 95% of mothers would switch jobs for more flexibility;

- Fewer than two thirds of mums who ask for flexible hours get them;

- Almost two-thirds of mothers report financial difficulty during maternity leave.

Almost half (49%) of women think that part-time or shorter working weeks are a great option for mums, while 20% believe job-sharing can work out better. Only 15% of mums who have worked a shorter week are unhappy with this arrangement due to the full workload still expected of them on the lower salary. 10% of mums do not advocate a career break while the children are small due to the difficult nature of getting back into employment after this time.

The survey also found nine in 10 women admitted to searching for a new role to get better benefits when planning their family, while 43% of women considered delaying their baby plans due to a lack of or poor maternity benefits in their workplace.

That seems to already be affecting the workplace however, with 58% of mums availing of a part or fully topped up maternity package compared to 50% last year.

Affordable maternity leave

Nine in 10 mums said that they simply couldn’t afford to live on the State Maternity Benefit alone of just €230 per week before tax, and 95% think the Government should encourage all employers to top-up their maternity benefits. 53% of mums saved extra money before their maternity leave to help bridge the financial gap, however a further 42% of mums still could not afford to take any portion of their 16 weeks entitlement to unpaid leave at the end of their paid 26 weeks of maternity leave.

Other findings:

- New Tax on Maternity Benefit: there was no improvement in financial awareness amongst mums this year with 43% not understanding the tax system applied to maternity benefits introduced in 2014.

- Career: only 29% of mums this year are interested in developing their career after having a child, down from 42% last year. Many mums are happy to continue in their role as before, while 36% report having less ambition since having a baby. 1 in 5 mums reported feeling anxious that their colleagues would see them as less committed to their role since having children.

- Return to Work Rationale: the main reason for 77% of mums returning to work after having children is purely financial and 44% of mums said they wouldn’t return to work if they didn’t have to. One in 10 mums said they needed mental stimulation, 6% felt they needed social interaction with adults, while 7% of mums said they loved their job and couldn’t wait to get back. Just 13% of mums said they felt ‘ready’ to go back to work.

- Return to Work Preparation: 37% of mums returning to work started batch cooking or bought a slow cooker. 28% met up with colleagues to catch up on office gossip, while a further 27% bought a new work wardrobe or changed their hairstyle. 15% employed a weekly cleaner to help with the housework.

- Mummy Guilt: 88% of working mums experience some form of mummy guilt. A sick child tops the triggers for mummy guilt

- Dads face their own issues - just half of fathers surveyed said their workplace offered paternity leave, an increase of 10% on last year's survey. However, there was a decrease in the number of dads who have taken parental leave - down from 32% to 18%. This could be directly attributed to how flexible employers are in facilitating parental leave, with only 54% of this year’s dads stating that their workplace was flexible compared to 71% last year.

** The fieldwork for the RecruitIreland.com and MummyPages.ie annual maternity leave survey was conducted during July and August 2015, with insights collated from the responses of over 1,042 mums nationally.

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