Nearly 75% of mums say their firms are inflexible to flexible working


She’s Back – the organisation that helps connect employers with returning mothers – has found 74% of mums say the company they work for is too inflexible to enable them to return to work as they want to after taking an extended career breaks - including having children.

The study, of more than 1,000 women found eight-in-ten women want to return to work, but lack of flexibility around their family circumstances was a significant barrier to them doing so.

Of those who did not return to work, 70% said the reason was for a family-related one.

According to She’s Back, the full potential of women in the UK could be as much as £23 billion (around 80% of the UK government’s education budget), and that if women set up businesses at the same rate as men, there would be 150,000 extra start-ups each year.

Commenting on the results, founder Lisa Unwin said: “It is not good enough having a flexible working policy if nobody implements it.”

The research found simple measures, such as being openly supportive of returning mothers, could make a massive difference in workplaces. It found ‘having a manager that wanted them to succeed’ was the main reason where 80% of mothers decided to come back.

However, the research contradicts a study by the National Childbirth Trust, which last autumn found most mothers (54%) didn’t actually return to work by choice.

It found 80% of all new mothers did return to the workplace. Of these though, the vast majority (77%) returned for purely financial reasons.