HR · 14 September 2015

Working parents supported by UK businesses, but recruitment process needs to be more family-friendly

Over a fifth of respondents said they had been asked whether they intended to have children in job interviews
Over a fifth of respondents said they had been asked whether they intended to have children in job interviews

Nearly two thirds of working parents feel UK businesses do enough to accommodate staff with children, according to research from job site CV-Library. Despite this, over a fifth said they were asked in interviews whether they intended to have children, and felt this was often viewed as a negative when it came to prospective job opportunities.

Ahead of Working Parents Day, CV-Library conducted research among over 2,000 UK professionals to explore attitudes about balancing work with a family, and with most responses being positive, the site said this suggested a shift in attitude. Some 63 per cent of working parents believed their firms did enough to make sure they felt supported.

Almost half of UK employees – 48 per cent – are working parents, with 23 per cent planning to have children in the next five years.

The number of those who felt firms did enough to support working parents stood at 62 per cent, which rose to 63 per cent among working parents.

Among those surveyed, over three-quarters said they didn’t worry about building a strong job foundation before starting a family, while 61 per cent believe that having children hasn’t reduced their career prospects. Nearly a fifth felt that having children had a positive impact on their career.

Lee Biggins, managing director of CV-Library, said: “It’s fantastic to see that British businesses are doing what they can to support working parents, which is helping to change perceptions. The fact that UK professionals have such a positive attitude towards being able to start a family whilst still maintaining a good career is reassuring.”

He added this indicated “we no longer live in an age where people have to choose between a career or a family, and support from our businesses is essential to ensure this shift in attitude continues”.

There was some concern among those planning to start a family, with 37 per cent concerned that children would have a negative effect on their career paths. The research also found that working parents noted ill-feeling from co-workers – over half stated they felt their colleagues judged them if they needed to leave work early for their children.

When it came to a new position, 22 per cent of job seekers said they had been asked whether they planned to have children during an interview and one in four felt they weren’t offered a new job because they had children.

Biggins said this reflected more could be done regarding the recruitment process when it came to making working parents feel more at ease. “Whilst employees with children feel supported by their existing employers, this support reduces when they look for work elsewhere,” he explained.

“More needs to be done in the recruitment sector to ensure that working parents aren’t disadvantaged when seeking new employment.”

Image: Shutterstock

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Rebecca is a reporter for Business Advice. Prior to this, she worked with a range of tech, advertising, media and digital clients at Propeller PR and did freelance work for The Telegraph.