Women choosing to stay at home with their families has decreased by nearly 50,000 as they more parents feel the pressure to return to work due to financial strain.
Interestingly, the unemployment figure for the UK between December and February hit its worst figure of 2.56m since 2011, this was also the highest peak the figures have seen as "stay-at-home-mums" felt the pressure to find work during this period.
The dramatic increase in figures published by the Office for National Statistics identified that it was almost entirely populated by women re-entering the labour market and being "unemployed" compared to the previous classification as "economically inactive".
The recent announcement of pension changes has seen over 30,000 women deciding not to retire and forcing many more to rethink retirement and start looking for work.
Part-time employment rose to over 20,000 and interestingly, no all occupied by parents as a high proportion of individuals being unable to seek full-time employment, opt for part-time work.
Posted in Flexible working
So why is our nation falling behind in supporting families in the workplace?
It has been pointed out that our access to affordable childcare and flexible working is just not good enough and makes returning to the workplace simply not desirable.
Our modern society in which we live, you would think, would make it more straight forward compared to decades ago to return to the workplace with our growing technology and modern culture values. Britain has now fallen behind our European neighbours as we have failed to capitalise on these opportunities.
During the 1990's, the number of women working was way ahead of our competitors, Germany and the Dutch - where we had affordable childcare and more flexible work. Unfortunately, we fell behind during the Labour decade and Germany and the Dutch overtook us as they continued to invest and participate in innovating support with more flexible opportunities, better childcare support and balanced parental arrangements. Britain began to fall behind with outdated labour regulations and commercial appetite.
What we have failed to invest in, is the continual moving with modern times and the priority to adapt flexibility within the workplace. Our business's cultures will continue to take time to catch up with childcare support and flexible working for both parents.
Helping parents to get into work and particularly enabling mothers to maintain skills will have a positive impact both on families and the country's finances. There are many good examples we can adopt from other countries who have reduced the barriers and increased participation. Although Britain is late to the game, there is no reason why we can't reform working practices, childcare provision and parental leave to the benefit of all. This should be a priority for the remainder of this parliamentary term. Then we can see a real rise in the participation of women in work.
Posted in Flexible working