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Law for Business

Knowhow - guidance - precedents

25 APR 2014

New 'Cityfathers' network launches, as survey finds men working in the City want to spend more time with their kids

New 'Cityfathers' network launches, as survey finds men working in the City want to spend more time with their kids

Louisa Symington-Mills
The new 'Cityfathers' network was launched earlier this week with guest speaker Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg. The launch also reported the results of a new survey of more than 750 working fathers in City professions.
Just one year before all new fathers have the right to share parental leave with their partner, the survey finds men in City professions divided as to whether they would consider taking up shared parental leave, despite nearly half saying that 'missing their children' is their biggest daily challenge.
Louisa Symington-Mills, founder of Cityfathers, said today, 'Our survey of Cityfathers finds many high-flying professionals secretly wish for more flexible working, so they can spend more time with their families. The survey revealed a City culture of stigma, where even a request for flexible working is thought to signal an end to a man's career. Employers need to give greater support to their employees who are working hard, juggling office and home life, otherwise the prospects look dim both for morale in their organisations, and for the Government's plans for more flexible working.'
Key findings
When asked, "What is your one biggest challenge as a working father?" nearly half of respondents (44%) cited missing their children.
Similarly just under half (45%) described their work/life balance as less than satisfactory, signalling significant employee dissatisfaction.
Over a quarter (29%) either took no paternity leave or did not take their full paternity entitlement.
Looking ahead to 5 April 2015, when fathers will be able to share parental leave with their partner, over a third of respondents (37%) said they would consider this option, with nearly a third undecided (30%) and a third ruling it out (33%).
Pay entitlements, employer support and impact on career progression highlighted as the key factors that would influence a decision to take Shared Parental Leave, with comments including "I do not feel the culture is there to enable me to take SPL without it negatively affecting my boss' perception of me/my ambition", "It would not be acceptable in my workplace", and "Unless I had the same enhanced paternity benefits as a female colleague has enhanced maternity benefits it would be financially impossible".
Many respondents highlighted perceived resistance to flexible working arrangements; 20% of Cityfathers answering the survey said they would like to work flexibly but haven't asked, with reasons cited including "It would be totally unacceptable in my workplace - even if it was accepted it would end all career progression", and "It would sound the death knell to my career. It has been made clear that flexible working is not an option".
When asked 'What one thing could your company do to support you better as a working father?' an overwhelming number of respondents cited improved attitudes to working hours and flexible working arrangements.
Over 70% say their experience of being a working father in the City is either 'a struggle' or a 'work in progress'.
About Citymothers & Cityfathers
Citymothers (www.citymothers.co.uk) and Cityfathers are inclusive networks for City professionals who have a shared interest in balancing family life with a progressive career. The networks have over 3000 members in London representing the law, banking/finance, management consultancy, human resources and accountancy. Their aim is to provide peer support to those balancing careers and families; to help members maintain career trajectory; and to provide a schedule of informative networking events at family-friendly times in the City and Canary Wharf, covering topics relevant to working parents.
For information please contact Louisa Symington-Mills at louisa@citymothers.co.uk
Survey Methodology
This Survey of fathers working in 'City' professions was conducted from 10-20 April 2014. It reflects the views of 753 respondents.

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