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Meet Clare: A working mum at Hastings Direct

I joined Hastings Direct Claims department in 1998 when it was a much smaller organisation. Despite the huge growth of the company in recent years, one thing that hasn’t changed is how well I’ve been looked after as a colleague at Hastings Direct.

My hours originally covered evenings as I had young children. As the children grew, my hours were able to grow too and I am so grateful for the understanding I’ve received to help me flex around my family. In 2012, I successfully applied to be a Team Leader on a full time basis.

I’ve always felt valued and respected by everyone around me. As well as flexing my working hours, I’ve had bereavement support and guidance with my career aspirations. Regardless of my need, I always know where and how I can get support.

I’m often asked why I’ve stayed so long at Hastings Direct. It’s not laziness or lack of ambition. – why would I leave? I have everything I need for a good work-life balance and I’ve made some great friends, many of whom have been here nearly as long as me!

One thing that’s impressed me most recently is the focus on mental wellbeing. The available support spreads far and wide from a brief chat, to a having wellbeing meetings, alongside free weekly mindfulness and Pilates classes for everyone.

Now both my children also work here! They’ve formed their own career journey and equally feel valued. You can imagine my poor husband having to listen us all talking about Hastings Direct at the dinner table! Before you ask… I’ve tried to get him in, but he’s happy doing what he does!

If you’re interested in joining Hastings Direct then please click here to view our current vacancies: https://jobs.mummyjobs.co.uk/clients/hastings-direct

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CHILDCARE OPTIONS AND FLEXIBLE WORKING

Finding the right childcare when working full time or flexibly can be like finding a needle in a haystack and if you do find that needle it is often diamond and gold-plated! Parents spend up to 45% of their disposable income on childcare and when it comes to a return to work, families (and in particular, mothers) often have to make a decision as to whether it is even worth working after paying for childcare. Many parents therefore try, with some creative thinking, to combine flexible working with childcare to try and achieve a “happy” medium.

43% of working women in the UK now work part time or flexibly, the majority of these choosing part time / flexible working to balance childcare.

Flexible working requests are reassuringly becoming a norm, not only for those parents returning to work after maternity or paternity leave but also throughout the lifecycle of parenting. A parent’s working arrangements can change several times as their children grow up. As many parents quickly realise, the days of a worrying about how to leave the office at 5pm in order to collect from a nursery at 6pm, are soon replaced by school pick-ups and how to keep your child safe during the 13 weeks of school (and that’s just if your children are in the state school system!).

Unfortunately, whilst your working arrangements may be flexible your childcare is inherently inflexible. Therefore, parents are forced to look at creative solutions and combinations in order to find solutions to meet their needs. Nurseries have set hours; childminders will only pick up from certain schools, school holidays are fixed and so as their childcare is often inflexible so parents have to seek greater and further working flexibility at certain times of year or at certain times in their child’s life.

So back to basics what are your childcare options?

Nannies provide the most flexible option for childcare when your children are young, and being based from your home if you need to work late, they can also ensure the children are then put to bed and your house is tidy. Nannies are widely regarded as the most expensive option, but the reality is that if you have 2 or 3 children to care for, they can be cheaper than nursery fees. Nanny shares (whereby two employers share one nanny) can also provide further financial advantages and is a popular solution for many working flexibly.

Nurseries provide the least flexible childcare but are open all year round, except when your child is ill and they are unable to go. They have set hours and set sessions that you must pay for regardless of whether your child goes and there can be high penalties if you are late.

Childminders provide a home from home setting with relatively fixed hours but they do provide more flexibility particularly for families who need less standard hours, shorter days or part-time care. Most will also offer nursery or school drop off and pick up options (although they will only usually pick up from certain establishments).

Family has a great benefit of being free, home based and flexible to suit your hours however it is important for the family member to be fully committed (such as not taking lots of holidays when you need cover!) as arguments can cause more problems personally than within a professional relationship. Building a network of school families is essential not only for those emergency situations when you are running late home but also to arrange swapping playdates or holiday cover… a bit of sharing the load for childcare is a great way of cutting down on summer camp costs.

Au-Pairs are a very popular choice when children go to school as like a nanny they will work just for you and can offer 25-30 hours a week providing cover before and after school. Financially they are the cheapest option, providing you have a spare room available for them, but au pairs often have no (or very limited) childcare experience and travel to the UK for a cultural experience of only between 6-12 months.

Breakfast Clubs and After School Clubs
are available not just at your school but also some local nurseries offer a local school collection service and then they care for the children in premises near to the school.

So how do you go about finding the right childcare for your family?

The biggest piece of advice for any parent thinking of childcare is to plan ahead but also to constantly reassess. Childcare needs unfortunately change such as when there is a change is circumstances like going to school or changing schools, new additions to the family and also the needs of your children change nearly every year. What is a major bonus is an open and frank relationship with your employer, because the key to achieving the “happy” medium is trying to achieve flexibility on all sides.

Ultimately the right childcare option is the one that leaves your children happy, stimulated and safe and you with great peace of mind but also one that creates the less stress possible for busy working parents, whether working full-time or flexibly.

Parental Choice the essential “one-stop shop” to help you make the right decision on your childcare needs. Parental Choice offer childcare searches including nurseries, childminders, nannies and au pairs plus support employers of nannies with all their payroll and employer responsibilities. For more information on your childcare options and how Parental Choice can help visit www.parentalchoice.co.uk and quote MJPC5.

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Is a return to Marketing in your future?

Always liked the idea of marketing?

Can you communicate clearly, both in writing and speech? Are you a problem solver? Can you crunch numbers? Are you an ideas person?

If yes, then marketing could be the new career pathway you’ve been looking for.

But, what actually is marketing?
Many people throw the word around not really knowing what it means and often using it in the wrong context. According to CIM (Chartered Institute of Marketing) it’s all about; identifying, developing and working.
Identifying something that customers or businesses want to buy or a problem that they need solved.
Developing a solution for that need or problem. It could be a product or a service.
Working out how you charge the right price for the product or service. You need to price it so that people will buy, but you also need to make a profit.

It sounds simple?
The theory is but the realities are more complex – it’s a challenging career where no two days are the same. Within it, you’ve got what’s known as the 7 Ps of marketing. We’ve already covered product and price, but there’s also:
Promotion – how you tell your customers about your products or services and how you market and sell to them. This includes advertising, PR and digital.
Place – where your product is sold. So, building and retaining good relationships with your retailers is a key part of the role.
Packaging – this is about how your product is presented to your customer and first impressions really count. Small tweaks such as a slight colour change can completely change a customer’s perception and affect their decision to buy.
Positioning – this is all about where your brand sits in the hearts and minds of your existing and prospective customers. It’s how people think about your company and how they talk about it.
People – the right people, inside and outside of the business, are a hugely important part of the marketing mix.

It’s a rewarding career and opportunities are vast too. No business or industry can survive without it, so the world is your oyster when it comes to choosing your sector. Or you might be looking for a career switch within your chosen career field. Pre-kids, if you worked in sales and want to switch to marketing to avoid all those hours on the road then you’re in a great position. You already have an existing knowledge of the industry and sales and marketing work hand-in-hand, so it won’t be like starting from scratch.

So, how do you get into marketing?
The good news is, that you can get into marketing without a degree. You can train flexibly online around work and family life. Try the professionally accredited Combined Sales & Marketing Diploma or if you want to be an established member of the digital age, try the Digital Marketing Diploma or the Digital Retox from Digital Mums.

The CIM also offers a series of diplomas, depending on experience. The Foundation Certificate gives you the basics, but there are a host of other short courses.

If your financial situation allows it, it’s worth considering an entry-level position to get a foot in the door. If you’ve already got commercial experience and are keen to develop, chances are you’ll rise up the ladder quite quickly. Some employers may also support financially with formal qualifications whilst you’re working. You benefit, they benefit – it’s a win-win.

Check out our latest marketing roles HERE
For more information about marketing visit www.cim.co.uk

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Coaching Skills for Parents from Positive Parenting

How many of us went to the University of Parenting?

How many of us were given a manual when we had our first babies?

Where is that rulebook, the one that tells us what to do, when & how, the one that tells us how to deal with teenagers?

There’s plenty of advice out there, but no definitive answers, not really. I never did I go to that University, never was I given the manual or the rulebook – yet I raised 4 boys to be fine young men. I had a career, a hard-working and successful one too, good money, great benefits and a wonderful business, long hours and working away a lot, yet still I managed to balance being a Mum with that career.

Or did I balance it? Sometimes I have wondered what effect my career has had on my kids?

Then I discovered a relatively new programme called Coaching Skills for Parents and was offered a place on the pilot programme.

This was and is a totally immersive programme aimed at parents & guardians – in fact anyone with responsibility for children (of any age). A programme that doesn’t give any rules (it’s most definitely not super nanny!) – but what it does is provide a safe environment for parents to explore what children really need, and how to meet those needs. The programme gives parents the skills & techniques to take back into the family environment and coach their own children using the same techniques.

Essential needs of children

The programme centres on the 4 essential developmental needs of children – those of love & security, responsibility, new experiences and praise & recognition.

It follows the writings of many influential people, including Nancy Kline (listening skills), Mia Keller Pringle (4 essential needs) and Stephen Covey (habits of highly effective families).

My own experience of Coaching Skills for Parents

There were 8 other delegates, and we quickly built a high trust environment, becoming very close friends (and we’ve stayed in touch) as we shared many personal memories of our own upbringings and experiences of being parents & guardians.

There were many times when the emotion in the room spilled over, when we had some very personal realisations about our own upbringings, how our parents did this for us, how we could improve our own parenting, and for some of us how we wished we had parented differently.

For me personally, there was one powerful technique that was particularly poignant, where we looked at the life of a relationship (I picked mine with my eldest son) – right back to birth and then up to today it looked at my highs and lows in my relationship with him, and really helped me feel the whole relationship not just the most recent event, or the most outstanding ones (or worst ones). This was a visual exercise, using flip-chart & coloured pens – a powerful medium for me to use as the visual nature of it made it more personal and meaningful. It also helped me celebrate the highs, because I could see just how many there had been.

On this programme I learnt a lot about the needs of children, and about my own needs as a parent! There are many techniques shared with us that help us understand our own upbringings and those of the children we are responsible for.

Examples of some techniques covered:

• The Emotional Needs of Children (and Parents!)
• How Children Make Sense of the World
• Praise – the Magic Ingredient
• Labels and seeing things with fresh eyes
• How our own early experiences affect our parenting style
• Position in the Family
• Dealing with Feelings
• The Family Emotional Bank Account
• Family Meetings
• Developing responsibility and critical thinking

I learnt a lot about where I had possibly gone wrong as a parent (although there is no rule book), and certainly where I could be a better parent going forward. I recently became a first-time grandma, and my efforts will now also be focussed on what I can do to help guide my son & his partner as brand-new parents, and the role I play as a grandparent – a vital role model in many children’s lives.

How I use what I learnt for others

As an accredited coach, I am now delivering this same programme to groups of parents & guardians, in many settings & locations, sometimes offering affordable taster sessions to give people a feel of what coaching skills might offer them and their family, then a structured programme through regular sessions for consecutive weeks.

I also deliver a new version of the programme to separating & divorcing parents, helping them to build strong stable relationships with their children in a new home environment.

There are preparations now under way for launching an online interactive version of this programme during Summer 2018, and a franchise opportunity during 2019.

What people say

“The whole course has changed my home and work life completely. My whole attitude has changed for both & will always be improving everyday from now”

“There is more structure in my life. More focused on how I want things to be. A better relationship with my husband. All this stops one from crossing over into another which gives me a happier work life”

“I have learned more about myself & how I can influence my child. The course has helped me take a different perspective on things & this has helped me deal with the relationship strains that occur when you get a new addition to the family. I have learnt a lot that can’t help much at present but is going to be of massive benefit as Olly gets older”

“I’ve become a lot more patient; I take more time with the kids”

“I’ve gained an appreciation of the workings of a child’s mind & how their beliefs are formed. I can take this into all my relationships as it helps me to better understand adults as well as children”

Want to find out more?

Steph Durbin-Wood is an internationally accredited coach, a member of the International Coaching Federation, providing personal, executive & business coaching, consulting, and now parent & family coaching through the Coaching Skills for Parents programme.

www.prospectcoaching.co.uk
www.positiveparenting.coach

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A Dads Share

Back in November 2014 my wife and I were overjoyed with the arrival of our daughter Beatrice. Being at home with her for those first two weeks was amazing and she was perfect in every way, but a month in to her life she was diagnosed with hip-dysplasia and we were told she would need surgery. After bringing her home she was made to wear a large, heavy & very awkward spica cast and the practicalities of this meant a simple thing like picking her up became too much for my Wife.

At the time my job had become dull and unfulfilling so I was more than happy for a change
of scenery. I took split paternity leave in May 2015 and would spend eight months off work and at home with Bea. The first few weeks it felt like a holiday as the sun was shining and the feelings of stress, monotony of the daily commute and rat-race dissipated. I found myself getting up with a smile on my face and sorting Bea’s breakfast, changing her nappy, dressing her and planning the day ahead. It all felt fresh and new and different but no doubt these feelings were born out of a craving for change. I did get some people (you know who you are) questioning my decision and giving what they saw as banter about how I was now a house husband (amongst other offensive labels) but I took it all in jest.

While I was finding the arrangement quite easy I knew my wife was struggling emotionally. She is one of the strongest willed people alive and she had always been determined to go back to work after having a baby but she felt like she was fighting society’s image of what mothers should be and her own instincts to care for our daughter.

As the weeks went by and I’d fallen in to good & bad routines. I started to get a bit defensive with continuing comments from (mostly) male friends, coupled with waves of bottled up anxiety about Bea’s condition. She would play on the living room floor by pulling herself around with her arms, dragging her cast behind. I was also feeling guilty by not being at work and earning money. Looking back, I was in a very bad place and I wish I’d opened up and found some help. I read this week that 28% of Men suffer from post-natal depression but all I could think when I read this statistic was what my late grandfather would have thought of men these days. My generation has had to re-mould the male image more than any other as we’ve advanced in to more gender fluid times.

When October rolled round and I had gone way past the six months originally agreed for split-paternity leave. My work couldn’t have been more helpful at the time as they were well aware of Bea’s needs and we’d agreed that I could return on a three-day basis. We worked out a schedule between family who we couldn’t be more thankful for and I returned to work.

Going back was strange and the biggest annoyance was having to constantly explain my situation to anyone asking where I’d been. A group email hadn’t gone round before I’d left as I wasn’t the one with the womb. I got questions on whether or not we were going to have anymore kids which began to feel intrusive.

We did eventually decide to have another baby and Eliza came along in the September of 2016. As my wife’s employer couldn’t offer her flexible hours she decided to go it alone and I was back full-time. A few months in I was asked to go for a promotion within my dept. I had been with the company for 10 years but when it came down to the final decision they chose someone else and I still wonder if my taking SPL had anything to do with it.

Overall I think we’ve been lucky as since I started working for our websites I’ve heard terrible stories from women who’ve been moved sideways, demoted or let go simply for choosing to have children. There needs to be a total attitude shift in the way parents can work and the way mothers are treated by their employers. Technology allows us to work anywhere these days and everyone should be given the option to work flexibly.

By Liam Hamilton
Co-Founder @ Daddyjobs.co.uk

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High Profile Returners… Helen Wright is doing it for herself, for you and for the love of flex.

The birth of “9-2-3” has been a very personal journey. Following a career as a Broadcast Journalist (where I worked for both the BBC and ITV), I stopped working to have a family. During this time, amongst other things, I was Vice Chair of the local Pre School and joined the Parish Council. But when I wanted to return to the workplace, I found being tied to the school run was prohibitive, as was the cost of hiring a nanny to look after my three children.

Chatting to other mums in the playground, I realised I was not alone. There were accountants, solicitors, marketing execs, HR professionals… the list goes on. None were working. What a brain drain! What a waste of experience. Here was a bunch of over-talented women all keen to work – all wanting to put their considerable expertise back to good use.

In short, I realised there are lots of talented workers struggling to be discovered, along with lots of employers struggling to find the professionals they needed. So in 2015 I decided to set up a recruitment agency, “9-2-3”, in order to help connect them.

9-2-3 specialises in flexible roles – whether that’s 9-3 school hours, more traditional part-time hours (of a few days a week) or even full-time hours (but with some home-working or compressed hours).

All the research shows that flexible workers are more productive, have fewer sick days, and greater staff retention – plus they’re more engaged at work, they want to be there!

Last year 9-2-3 commissioned some research of our own which showed that 3 out of 4 office workers (both male and female) believe that we will all be working flexibly within 5 years. After all, flexible working benefits everyone – both businesses and candidates; whether they’re mums or dads, or those with caring responsibilities, or those simply seeking a better work-life balance (so they can come into their place of work feeling refreshed, valued and raring to go).

9-2-3 has enjoyed continued growth and success (in fact we’re hiring ourselves now). We’ve been working with a variety of forward-thinking businesses, all looking to recruit experienced professionals on a flexible basis. We’re currently working on roles in the charity sector, HR, sales, finance and more…

Last year we also launched The 9-2-3 Club, with an exciting event at Westminster – supported by MPs and Ministers. The idea behind the Club is to give members the opportunity to get together at regular meetings where they can share experiences and gain in confidence before re-entering the workplace. These meetings are designed to be fun and informal get-togethers, where we can share experiences and feel inspired and empowered to move our careers forward in a flexible way.

I believe there’s a revolution taking place in our workplaces, and that flexible working is the future. The more of us shouting about it – the louder our voice! So the next time you are speaking to an employer, ask them what flexible working arrangements they have in place, and together we can improve our workplaces for everyone.

You can find all Helen’s latest flexible roles here

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Hospitality: A world of opportunity

Hospitality is the third largest employer in the UK, employing 2.9 million people and contributing a phenomenal £130bn to the UK economy. Surprised? Sadly, many of us associate hospitality jobs as stop-gaps with unsocial hours and no career opportunities. Think again. It’s a thriving industry, with a skills shortage, that’s crying out for good people.

And, don’t just think restaurants or hotels, the industry covers everything from pubs, bars, events, fine dining, visitor attractions, schools, universities and corporate dining. There’s a huge range of roles available within the sector too; bar manager, barista, supervisor, front of house manager, chef, events manager right through to roles in business development, HR and accountancy.

Amy-Lou Osborn, recruitment manager at Gourmet Burger Kitchen, will happily admit that she fell into hospitality, whilst studying for a Stage Management degree at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. The flexibility of her role at HA!HA! Bar & Grill enabled her to work around her studies and take time out for filming contracts when she later graduated. Always returning to hospitality between film jobs, she later realised hospitality was where she wanted to be. She worked her way up the ladder, working for high street restaurant brands such as Browns, Frankie and Benny’s and Bill’s, where she also headed-up recruitment for new restaurant openings. Today, at GBK, she is responsible for recruiting and onboarding up to 1000 team members across 93 restaurants in the UK and Ireland.

She told us what it’s like working in the industry, what it has to offer and how you get a foot in the door.

What’s it like working in the hospitality?

It’s so diverse – every day is different. It might sound obvious, but it’s most definitely people-focused. I’m not just talking about the customers, but the team – I’ve actually made life-long friends through work. Everyone works together, pitches in and enjoys what they do, with a common goal of keeping the customer happy.
Unfortunately, the industry is often under-represented and most people aren’t aware of the vast range of opportunities and career progression that’s available. I think a lot of people assume they know what it’s like and discount it.

So, what are the opportunities?

The reality is, is that there’s a huge amount of opportunities and experiences available. And, for the right people, hospitality can enable fast career progression. At GBK, for example, you can go from a starting salary of £7.85 an hour to £30K a year as a restaurant manager, within two years. I don’t think there’s many other industries that can offer that? In most other sectors, you’d be in an entry level job for two years, before there was any hint of development opportunities.

What do you think the hospitality industry offers that other industries don’t?

I think our industry is much more creative in the way we recruit. We know there’s not enough talent out there, so the traditional head-hunting approach doesn’t work – we’d just be competing for and swapping the same people. Here at GBK, we create and invest in talent. For us, it’s about finding the right people with the right attitude and core values and giving them the training and opportunities to grow with us.

Is hospitality a good option for working parents?

By its very nature, working in hospitality is based around flexible working, so is ideally suited to people looking to work in a flexible way. Unlike a 9-5 office job, you can switch shifts to get to sports day or the school play and evening and weekend shifts enable parents who might have a partner with a 9-5 job, the opportunity to work without incurring huge childcare costs. Ten or 15 years ago, I think hospitality would have been a big no-no for parents, but it fits with today’s lifestyles where everyone is looking for flexibility.

What qualities and skills are employers looking for?

It really depends on the employer. Because the industry is so diverse, there really is no one size fits all. At GBK, we employ people who hospitality comes as second nature, people who genuinely want to make someone happy. I can’t speak for the industry at large; every employer is different. But, given the current shortage of skilled workers, now is a good time to enter the industry as more and more employers are training from within with some offering apprenticeships, so you don’t necessarily need to have lots, or any previous experience.

So, how do you get a foot in the door?

It’s worth doing some homework, if it’s a path you’re considering. There are so many roles available across many brands and companies and not every company is right for every person. You might not enjoy working in a fine dining restaurant, but you might be a fantastic Barista in a coffee shop. Contact the big brands to see what the opportunities are but keep an eye on your doorstep too. There may be somewhere local to you that is happy to offer some on the job training. Just get stuck in and if it’s right for you, you’ll fly.

To find out more about working in Hospitality, see a full list of our latest roles HERE

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Would improving men’s rights help close the gender pay gap?

Written by Fiona Halkyard @ Chatter Communications

I don’t really think of myself as much of a feminist. I don’t get offended if a man holds a door open for me or calls me “love” (to be fair living in Yorkshire, it’s a pre-requisite and even men get called love, so score one for equality!). But I am a woman who’s pretty dedicated to her career. I’m a working mum. And, most importantly, I have three daughters who are (in my completely neutral opinion) amazing human beings who will go on to be brilliant adults. And for them, and their generation, I’d like to see true gender equality finally become a real thing.

And so there are certain “female” issues that really piss me off. And the current bee in my bonnet is the gender pay gap (which leaves British women earning an average of 17.4% less than men in similar full-time jobs and places us 15th out of 22 countries*). Or rather the gender bias that continues to dog our society and prevent women from achieving the same career success as their male counterparts.

My experiences

Through my twenties my career progressed quite successfully and initially, being female didn’t really factor. But once I moved into a management role I started to become aware of nuanced differences between the way I was treated compared to men of a similar age.

There was a “boys club” of up and coming ad execs who got invited to golf/beers/important client dinners with the MD and Chairman and suddenly progressed their careers far quicker than me and my female colleagues. The most memorable moment that made me stop and pay attention that perhaps I wasn’t being judged purely on my ability, was the conversation I had with the company Chairman when being considered for a promotion and he “joked” that he was only considering me because he “trusted” that I wasn’t just going to “run off and have babies anytime soon”. I was 27, engaged, and whilst not immediately planning a family, I knew it probably wasn’t too far off in my future. Yet I had to pretend that “no, no I’m a dedicated career woman, none of this baby nonsense for me” in order to pass his “test”.

I wonder if any man has ever felt that pressure? They certainly didn’t in that particular business where men could marry and become Dads without a single raised eyebrow from the powers that be. To be aware that even the potential of a marriage/baby that may not happen for a decade or more (or ever) could be a factor you have to answer to because you are “a woman of a certain age” is frustrating and archaic. And while most employers are far too savvy/legally compliant to ask the question that my old boss did, we all know that it is often consciously or unconsciously a factor when hiring or promoting a young woman.

And to some extent I get it. Women do often have babies in their late twenties, thirties, forties. And then want reduced/flexible hours. And that costs a business, especially a small one, a lot of money that perhaps doesn’t make up for the value of the employee in their child free years. But women do not choose to be born female. So why should they have to choose career or parenthood? Men don’t. Does that make men better at their jobs? Does it make them lesser parents? In my opinion the answer is no.

The here and now

The UK has made fabulous strides over the past 11 years, since I became a mum, to make it a little bit easier to juggle motherhood and working life. Maternity pay/leave have been extended and it’s become the norm to take a year or more off and still return to a well paid role. Flexible working policies have also become fairly common place, allowing women to balance the demands of work and parenting. Which is all brilliant. But still comes with restrictions. Breakfast meetings, after work networking, long days of travel, are all pretty hard to work around most childcare provisions. And whilst colleagues can be supportive, you can still feel that you’re more “difficult” to work with than a child-free colleague. And that affects confidence, your feelings of job security, it can put you off applying for a promotion or new role as you don’t want to upset the status quo.

And so women tread water while their kids are young and their male counterparts progress. And by the time you’re able to be “all in” at work, you’ve reached a glass ceiling and are reporting into men with 10 years less experience than you have. And so the gender pay gap persists.

So what’s the answer? What can we do? Even more benefits and support for women? Maybe. But to change the social stigma, how about we focus on men?

Again the UK has made some excellent progress in sharing the load of parental responsibility in the work place with paid paternity leave and shared parental leave and the opportunity for anyone to apply for flexible working. But it’s still not the norm. Paid paternity leave is still only funded by the government for 2 weeks. Our parenting leave is only the 11th most equal out of 21 countries* with shared parental leave a minefield to organise and flexible or part time working is still something that feels more aimed at women than men (men make up only 25.8% of the part-time workforce, leaving the UK 16th out of 21 countries measured *). Dads who take extended time off to be with their new baby tend to face social stigma, or at least a few raised eyebrows. And this means that on average, British men spend 24 minutes caring for children, for every hour done by women, according to the Fatherhood Institute’s Fairness In Families Index (FIFI).

People also presume that the woman will be the one to take a career break as the man is earning more (a comment even my own husband made, completely forgetting that when we started a family we were on equal salaries, as many couples are). And on the flip side, women whose partners take more time off than them are seen as “lesser” mums, putting their career before their kids. And because of all of this, men in their late twenties and early thirties are still not associated with the “pregnancy risk” that may entail a career break or reducing their hours at some point, even if married or with long term partners.

But if we could encourage more men to take up the opportunity to be at home with their kids, work flexibly and take on more of the parental juggle – without being judged for it. If we bring our kids up to see that both mum and dad can be their carer and have a career maybe things might finally be come more equal.

And if a parental career break (or indeed a mid-life career break for any purpose) becomes society’s standard for both men and women, then the glass ceiling might finally shatter. Maybe not for me and my peers (if we’re lucky we’ll be retired by then!). But if my daughters can dream, believe and achieve with no limits, then that would be a wonderful thing.

*stats taken from the Fatherhood Institute’s Fairness In Families Index 2016

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I have 1.4 million candidates available but I am only sending them to Goldman Sachs!

7 Women Returners. Diversity

We are currently experiencing a huge skills shortage, my financial services clients and manufacturing clients seem to spend their lives hiring, they fill one position and another becomes available. How are we going to find the staff to keep up? Well the first option and obvious one is to up-skill internally (but I’ll save that for another rant) the second option is to tap into the UKs 1.4 million eligible candidates!

| Who are they, what do they do and where do I get my hands on them?! |

Well, do you remember Susan your former FD who got pregnant but couldn’t come back full-time because of childcare? Well bingo, we have 1.4 million Susan’s.

And because 95% of employers are yet to realise we need our Susan’s and still believe the world is full of 20-year-old geniuses with 16 years’ experience willing to work for £20,000, we are currently the crappiest Western country when it comes to getting parents back into work; 27% lower than any other country in fact!

Well done United Kingdom, we have actually managed to go backwards!

After the war when we had a skills shortage (admittedly slightly more severe than the one we have now) we created on-site nurseries, so women could come to work and know there was a safe, guaranteed place for their children to be! Genius.

Now whilst 95% of employers are damn average at supporting parents back into work, 5% have actually realised the value of Susan(s) and have taken the initiative to do something about their skills shortage, staff turn over and retention! (For the purpose of this argument, I am ignoring you fantastic supporters of flexible working, this is purely focussed on on-site support) Goldman Sachs is leading the way, they now have on-site nurseries in their London, Tokyo and New York offices. In locations where they can’t provide childcare facilities, they work with local nurseries to subsidise their facilities for employees. They also provide after school and holiday clubs for 5-12 year olds, which has proved to be exceptionally popular! Around 1400 Goldman Sachs employees use their childcare services! 1400! That’s ¼ of their employees.

I know I know, Goldman Sachs have so much money it’s not a fair comparison! They could give every new starter a gold-plated calculator and diamond stapler!

“My company is too small I can’t afford to fund internal childcare” – well yes that’s pretty bloody obvious! However, you also thought you couldn’t afford a fancy meeting suite, coffee machine and serviced lift but you found a small office to rent in a shared building with all those perks.

Welcome shared office child-care suites!

https://secondhome.io/ http://www.third-door.com/ https://www.officreche.com/#

“Article 50 is coming” and we still have little to no idea on how it is going to impact our current foreign workers. We have 2.2 million EU workers; let’s say 50% leave the UK, that leaves us with an additional 1.1 million vacancies on top of the current 770,000. If you think it’s hard to recruit now, imagine an additional 1 million vacant positions!

Let’s do the maths here, if above 50% leave the UK we will be left with 1,870,000 vacancies. There are only 1.4 million unemployed people in the UK, even if they all were miraculously suitable and skilled for current vacancies we still have a deficit of 470,000 jobs with no people to fill them.

Surely this is reason enough to really consider how you are making work accessible for parents, particularly single parents!

Take 6 minutes out of your day to hear Rohan Silva and Rachel Carrell discuss how you can overcome the challenges of childcare for parents!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p05b4vzh

Written by Harriet Finch @ https://www.linkedin.com/in/harrietfinch/

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JUST GO FOR IT!

Deloitte.co.uk Return To Work

Interested in coming back to work after a break? Charlotte Blyton discusses how she got back into the workplace via Deloitte’s Return to Work programme. Since returning, she has been named one of Timewise’s Power Returners, and been promoted from Senior Manager to Associate Director. She offers her advice around returning to work.

“My advice for those thinking about returning to work after a break is just go for it. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. We’ve all been there and thought ‘I can’t do it’. But you can. I was considering taking a part time management job at a pre-school, until I heard about the Deloitte Return to Work programme.

I’d lost confidence; my world had narrowed and I’d lowered my expectations. A friend who’s a career coach told me I shouldn’t limit myself, that there are opportunities out there. She was right. I was one of the eight Deloitte alumni asked to join the pilot scheme in 2015. I came back in as a Senior Manager, was offered a permanent role, and am now an Associate Director in Tax Management Consulting. I believe I can be a Director; it’s just a question of getting there.

This is a fantastic opportunity to get back on the career ladder. Even just applying and going to the insight day builds your confidence. I got so much out of it, even before I was offered a role. The programme gives you a chance to get back up to speed. You still have to deliver, but in a more supportive environment.”

Charlotte Blyton
Associate Director, Tax Consulting