Most workers say they are less ambitious about their career due to family responsibilities

Striking the right balance between a successful career and a happy home life is the constant challenge faced by working parents – so much so that many professionals are pursuing more conservative career choices upon starting a family.

A survey found that over half (52 percent ) of working parents were less ambitious for their careers upon starting a family. 78 percent of working parents claim that family responsibilities have dissuaded them from exploring new job opportunities or making a career move. Similarly, over three-quarters (77 percent ) of working parents have decided against applying for roles that involved foreign travel.

As the demands of work and home life collide, it can be difficult for parents to effectively juggle both.

Over half (58 percent ) of those surveyed by Irishjobs.ie claim that they regularly have to work outside of standard working hours in order to maintain the balance between their professional and family commitments. One third (33 percent ) of respondents admitted to getting up earlier to get through their workload and 25 percent stayed up late to work.

In addition, 48 per cent are required to attend work events such as business dinners or networking events outside their normal working hours.

Employees who are unable to attend these ‘afterhours’ working events risk being overlooked for promotions or career advancement. Nearly four in ten (39 percent ) feel they have been overlooked for career opportunities due to family responsibilities and 28 percent feel their careers have suffered due to their inability to attend work events outside normal hours.

Despite the challenges that come with balancing both career and family commitments, 20 percent described their employer’s efforts to facilitate their needs as a working parent as ‘excellent’, while a further 45 percent rated their employers as good or very good in this regard. The remaining 35 percent of working parents described their employers as ‘fair’ or ‘poor’ in their efforts to facilitate their staff’s family commitments.

That said, with the appropriate workplace supports, a harmonious work-life balance can be achieved. Recent survey results show that many employers are providing the appropriate supports, with 31 percent of workplaces offering parents flexible working hours and 14 percent providing the option to work from home.

Commenting on the findings, IrishJobs.ie General Manager, Orla Moran, said that striking the right balance between work and home life has always been a challenge faced by working parents. As life gets busier, it is inevitable that even hard working and ambitious professionals will enter periods of their working life where they are less readily available for travel or evening time engagements.

“Last month, we published new research highlighting the strain on working parents seeking to balance childcare needs with the demands of a busy career. Today’s research however, suggests that these challenges facing working parents extend far beyond their childcare needs and in fact, directly impact their career choices and long-term career ambitions.

“As a society currently approaching full employment, it’s important that employers facilitate employees throughout their various life stages and it is encouraging to see that the majority of employers are succeeding in doing so.

“By recognising and accommodating the needs of employees, employers can show them that they are valued within the workplace and help them to reach their full career potential," she concluded.

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