Lack of sophistication in flexible benefits to blame, say mums

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A lack of return-to-work support and difficulties getting flexible working, shared-working and compressed hours, all contribute to woman saying having a child negatively impacts their careers.

According to a poll of 873 senior and mid-level professionals by Morgan McKinley Australia, nearly three-quarters of women (72%) said having a child impacts their ability to achieve their career goals.

Although 80% of the companies women worked for offered ‘flexible working’ policies, 77% of respondents said they wanted a more tailored approach to flexibility – including wanting flexi-hours, extra time off during school holidays and working at home – rather than the simple, blanket provision on offer.

The survey also found 15% of female respondents had opted out of the workplace for longer than 12 months, while 30% had decided not to go for a promotion. The overwhelming reason for the latter (from 60% of women), was saying that doing so would not allow them to achieve their desired work-life balance.

Vanessa Harding-Farrenberg, joint MD of Morgan McKinley Australia said: “Organisations need to be much more supportive of women who are in their first and second management roles. This is the time when women may be starting a family and are thrown outside of their comfort zone.'

She added: “Careful coaching, visible role models and providing women with the tools they need, early in their careers, will ensure they can take positive ownership of their careers.”

Although 72% of women said having children impacted their career, only 53% of men said the same.