Are men still being ignored when it comes to finding a balance between working and home life?

Research carried out back in 2014 suggested that men had overtaken women when it came to expressing dissatisfaction with the balance between working and home life.

According to a survey of more than 1000 respondents at the time, more than a fifth of men said they would rather they had looked after their children than returning to work and more than a third of men questioned told researchers that they worked full-time and were offered no flexibility at all by their employers.

This research was compounded by Adrienne Burgess, joint chief executive at The Fatherhood Institute, a charity which describes itself as ‘the UK’s fatherhood think-and-do-tank’. She commented: “It is men, not women, who are most dissatisfied with their work-life balance. They’re more likely than mums to be in full-time paid employment, and to be the sole or main breadwinner. Full-time working men also work longer hours on average than their female counterparts, and tend to have longer commutes. Crucially, few employers have strategies to support the men in their workforce to combine their work and domestic commitments. As a result, men are less likely to request flexible working, and if they do, are less likely to get it.”

Shared Parental Leave

The current Shared Parental Leave regulations came into play in the UK in Dec 2014 with eligibility for parents with a baby due/finalised adoption plans in place on or after April 5th, 2015. These replaced the former Additional Paternity Leave entitlement and allow eligible women to curtail their right to maternity leave to enable their partner to take shared parental leave.

So, 3 years on and with the new Shared Parental Leave entitlement fully in place, has anything changed? Do fathers still feel they are being unfairly penalised because of their gender, or do mothers feel they can’t return to work earlier than the somewhat standard 9 months off?

Recent research from business management consultancy Elixrr has shown that men still make up 80% of executive teams in the retail sector. This may be due to many reasons but does highlight the fact that women are still being overlooked for higher management positions, and that many men are still in the workplace when they may prefer to be at home caring for the children. Add this to the recent outcry surrounding the gender pay gap between men and women and you can see why it may be a problem for families to break the mould and have the father becoming the primary caretaker with the mother becoming the breadwinner.

Flexible Working at VST

At VST, we believe in equality – we have offered flexible working hours to all our employees irrespective of gender since the company was founded in 2007, employing mainly part-time staff; with business and life experience as the only necessity.

Andrew Smart, MD, himself a working father with school run and collection responsibilities, has always acknowledged the importance of flexible working in getting the best out of his employees, stating, “We recognise that the ability to work flexibly can help achieve a better work-life balance, and this has benefits for both the organisation and our team. This is why we allow our employees to tell us how many working hours would best create their perfect work/life balance. The better work/life balance our team has at VST, the longer they will stay here. This not only benefits the employees and VST but our client’s too for continuity and the retention of campaign knowledge”

For more information about working for VST please visit our Careers Section or call Hannah on 01604 609940.