Recent research from HR training providers DPG has revealed that almost half of women (49%) had to reduce their working hours after having children, while a further one in five (19%) had to leave their jobs. The research, which surveyed 1,000 British mothers with children under 16, revealed that the brunt of this problem is still being borne by women. Mothers are currently taking an average of 24 times more parental leave than their male counterparts.

Women take an average of 12.5 months maternity leave, while two-thirds of men take two weeks or less off work to spend with their new children. One in five men (22%) took no paternity leave at all.

Respondents highlighted the biggest issues they faced when going back to work after maternity leave:

  • 54% struggled to balance time between work and childcare
  • Over half (52%) felt guilty about having to leave their children
  • One-third (33%) struggled to cover the cost of childcare
  • One in ten (12%) had mental health problems relating to their return to work

The research revealed areas where mothers felt their employers could make improvements to offer more support. The top things women want in order to make the transition back to work easier are:

  • Almost half (46%) want more flexible working opportunities
  • One-third (30%) want more paid maternity leave
  • One in four (26%) want to work remotely
  • One in five (21%) want an onsite creche at their workplace

Sarah Aubrey, CEO at DPG, said about the research: “We undertook this research to illustrate where HR managers and organisations could make improvements to better support mothers. The scope of the problem it has revealed is shocking.

“But respondents were clear about what employers could be doing to help them get back into the workplace. We should now be working to incorporate these things into our business plans to make the best use of our workforce in the long term”.