September 28, 2016
More than two thirds of stay-at-home mothers with young children would go back to work if flexible working was an option, a new study from Digital Mums and the Centre for Economics and Business Research claims. The survey of 1,600 mothers also suggests that more than a third of those already in work would put in more hours if they had better childcare arrangements based around flexible working. The WorkThatWorks report claims that women (and presumably some fathers) would contribute billions to the economy if more organisations were to offer parents more flexible work conditions. The report claims that currently, some 2.6 million mothers are out of the labour market although two thirds (68 percent) feel unable to return to work because of the lack of flexible working options. In addition, 60 percent of mothers already in work do not have access to flexible work despite the introduction of legislation in 2014 that offers them the right to request it.
The report also claims that if more flexible working options were available, the associated increase in participation of stay-at-home-mothers (SAHMs) and working mums living with children aged 18 and under could amount to an additional 66 million hours worked each week, equivalent to 1.76 million additional full time workers, providing the UK economy with a £62.5 billion boost to output each year as well as closing the earning differentials between men and women.
Kathryn Tyler, one of Digital Mums’ founders, said: “In today’s highly connected world, there’s simply no need for businesses to stick to an archaic 9-5 desk policy. We need a societal shift to embrace flexible working as the ‘norm’ and not the exception. This will not only help mums find rewarding careers that fit their skills and family life; it will help businesses tap into an amazing talent pool and, ultimately, increase output for the economy.”