Inflexible working arrangements means females can’t achieve their working potential

Inflexible working arrangements means females can’t achieve their working potential

According to a new survey, the lack of flexibility in the recruitment process is one of the main reasons as to why working mothers resort to taking any job that suits their restricted availability, rather than having the freedom to choose something they will love. This means they earn a lot less than their male counterparts throughout their working lives and also, their jobs are unfulfilling as they don’t meet their qualifications or training.


A recent survey conducted by ‘Feels’ – a London-based recruitment consultancy – shows three-quarters of the mothers interviewed are currently working. Over half of them have had to leave or change their job due to family commitments.


Currently, labour productivity in the UK is very low; however, the survey shows a record number of mothers returning to work after having children. The only downfall is, they are taking on job roles beneath their abilities, leaving no room for them to grow and develop.


The survey demonstrates the sheer number of businesses in Britain that allow trillions of pounds worth of value in female talent to go to waste. Offering flexibility in the workplace will help businesses to utilise their female workforce more effectively. It also minimises the number of women having to settle for the first suitable job they are offered purely to support their families.  Around 64% of females surveyed who were looking for a job said they were willing to trade flexibility for a job role that engages their professional or academic experience.


Jane Johnson, Feel’s founder, believes that highly qualified mothers are being let down by employers due to the lack of creativity and willingness to agree to flexible arrangements.  “There are 4.9 million working mothers in the UK, and there is an opportunity worth almost £1.3 trillion for the UK economy that is being wasted”.


The survey’s results show that of the 75% of women that had been to university, a third of them are now in employment that has nothing to do with their qualification. Three-quarters of the women surveyed were incredibly passionate about securing a position that balances using their degree knowledge while working flexibly.


Research conducted by the Office of National Statistics shows the gender pay gap continues to grow, and it gets wider from the age of 30. A females obligation and commitment to her family is one of the biggest contributing factors as to why the gap never gets any smaller. The earning potential of women matches males until females are aged between 25 and 30. Between the ages of 30 to 65, women are between £5-10k worse off each year when directly compared to their male counterparts with similar qualifications.


Flexible working arrangements

Employers are currently dismissing flexible working arrangements when instead, they should look at the opportunities available for mothers who add unparalleled value to the business, to juggle both their work and home life. One potential option could be for employers to allow mothers to work from home as well as in the office.


Another suggestion would be to agree a flexible working day for females that is tailored around the school day; giving working mothers the opportunity to take their children to and from school. Some businesses have started to offer work days that are only four days a week, increasing their hours to the equivalent of five working days to work around childcare arrangements. If you need advice or guidance on introducing flexible arrangements into your business, please contact a member of the HPC team:


T: 0844 800 5932


Twitter: @HPC_HRservices

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