Fathers fear taking parental leave will impact career

More than half (52 per cent ) of employees think that new fathers in their organisation do not take the full parental leave they are entitled to, according to Hays Ireland’s Gender Diversity Report 2017.

Some 38 per cent believe this was because fathers fear an adverse impact on their finances, while 28 per cent said it was because fathers think they may be viewed as less committed to their career. More than a quarter of men and women said that it was because parental leave is still viewed as the exclusive domain of the mother.

More than half of all employees agreed that there is some form of gender equality or equal opportunity imbalance at their organisation. While three-quarters of both men and women feel they have the opportunity to promote their skills and progress their careers in their workplace, more than a third of female respondents said they feel they do not have the same career opportunities as male colleagues. While 59 per cent of men said they believed their female colleagues were paid and rewarded in an equal manner, only 17 per cent of women agreed.

A significant 90 per cent of employees said flexible working was a benefit for them in their organisation, and 46 per cent believe that it had allowed greater representation of women in senior roles.

When it comes to availing of flexible working options, men and women alike believe that it could harm their career advancement prospects. When asked if flexible working is a career-limiting move for women, three-quarters of women and 59 per cent of men agreed. When the same question was asked about men, 54 per cent of women and 64 per cent of men said it was career-limiting.

Richard Eardley of Hays said: “There is certainly room for improvement. While an organisations’ employees all need to work together to create a workplace culture that welcomes diversity and inclusion, it’s ultimately up to senior management to properly formulate and execute diversity programmes. Our survey shows that employees are looking for that guidance.

“At the core of a successful diversity programme is an ethos that allows for meaningful career advancement even for those who choose to work flexible hours or remotely. This helps to undo some of the older stereotypes that suggest flexible working is purely for women, or that it hinders professional development and earning potential. Creating this culture gives peace of mind to new mothers and fathers, encourages them to take the leave they’re entitled to, and ultimately helps to make the organisation more attractive.”

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