PART 1: Working mums in search for flexible work.

Loss of confidence and lack of flexible role visibility are the biggest frustrations

We recently conducted a survey amongst 128 mums (mostly based in the UK, with a good mix of seniority), to understand more about the key challenges that mums face in their search for flexible work, their desire and the support they would love to get.

This is a two part series. This part 1, we will explore the challenges, effect on their moral and performances and the reasons for searching flexibility. Part 2 will focus on the solutions and desired outcomes.

Photo by Chris Barbalis — unsplash

Here are the key points that came out:

  1. Lack of confidence: Nearly 50% of the respondents (48%) felt like their confidence in their abilities and skills had dropped since returning to work, followed closely by a need to redefine themselves (42%). We are observing some differences based on the level of seniority — women at senior level had challenges managing their emotional roller-coaster (26% of Head & Director respondents), followed by a lack of confidence in their ability & skills and being confident enough to negotiate flexible conditions (both at 22%). Whilst mid management, struggled more with the confidence to negotiate flexible conditions (41%) and a desire to redefine themselves. Clearly, returning to work is a challenging, confusing and vulnerable time.
  2. Lack of perceived opportunities: The biggest frustration is the lack of part time opportunities at mid-senior level (58%) and many women struggle to find anything suitable (46%).

As a result, a high proportion of women feel “stressed”, “frustrated”, “stuck” and “worried”. Which in return has a major impact on their confidence, which is the biggest blocker as we’ve just identified. A viscous circle. Women with a full time job are more frustrated (37%), stressed (29%) and worried (29%), whilst those working part time feel more stuck and worried (both at 23%) — of not finding another part time role away from their current employer.

43% of the mums believe that the challenges they are facing have got nothing to do (10%) or very little to do (33%) with their confidence level which makes us believe there is a wider issue in not believing the companies can deliver towards flexibility.

Obviously, women search for flexibility is driven by the desire to be around their kids (94%) but having a role challenging them within a company they have a good fit with is very important too.

After all and as they say — they have the same to offer than anyone else working full time, if not more.

Sophie from Mum. Career. Life.

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