Flexible working costs mums £11k a year

Written by Rebecca O'Connor on 17th May 2017

Working mums who have given up the 9 to 5 office job for a life of 9.30 to 2.30 on the laptop at the kitchen table know a ton about sacrifice.

Now, one website has put a figure on the amount of income that mothers doing flexible #workthatworks must surrender in order to also manage parental duties, such as drop offs and pick ups at the school or nursery gate.

That figure is an average £11,000 a year of what they could earn in a regular job with traditional hours, according to www.VoucherCodesPro.co.uk.

The website found that 59 per cent of women do not return to their previous career once they’ve had children, but instead choose to switch jobs to one with hours that will work around their kids, or stay at home.

Nearly half of those who leave their full-time employment for more flexible work (45 per cent) do so because of the high cost of childcare, accepting the £11,000 pay cut as the most preferable option of the two alternatives.

The types of jobs they choose tend to be in supermarkets, administration or school, as these jobs tend to offer the most flexibility.

The website undertook the study as part of ongoing research into how British women’s lives change once they have children. 2,418 British women, all of whom stated that they had at least one child under the age of five years old, were quizzed about their lives pre-and post-parenthood.

Initially, all respondents were asked: “Did you return to your previous career after having children?” to which just two fifths of respondents, 41%, said “yes”. 10% said that they didn’t work before having children. Of the 49% who said that they didn’t return to their career after having children, 64% “switched jobs for one with more flexible hours” to work around their children and 25% “became a stay-at-home parent”.

All respondents who didn’t return to their career were asked why, with the top reasons cited being ‘the cost of childcare was too expensive’ (45%) and ‘my career didn’t have the flexibility I needed’ (39%).

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Respondents who had switched jobs when returning to work were asked what type of job they had gone into that better suited their new lifestyle and family. When provided with a list of possible responses and told that they could also specify their own, the top five jobs were revealed as: 

1.      Supermarket role – 18%

2.      Administration – 17%

3.      School (e.g. teaching assistant, dinner lady etc.) – 15%

4.      High street retail – 9%

5.      Cleaning – 7%

Those who stated that they got a job in a school were asked if it was the same school their children went to and 64 per cent said that it was.

When asked what their salary had been prior to having children (if they were employed then), the average was revealed as £32,500. When relevant respondents were asked what their salary was after leaving their career and getting a job that better suited their family lifestyle, the average was revealed as £21,500 – a difference of £11,000 per year.

George Charles, spokesperson for www.VoucherCodesPro.co.uk, said: “Unfortunately, mothers have it a lot harder than fathers when it comes to managing a career and raising children; and many feel that the best thing for their family is to leave their career and find something more suited to their families. This is the case for many families up and down the country and unless businesses are more accommodating then it’s going to continue to be the norm.”