Research conducted by Government Equalities Office in conjunction with the University of Bristol has shown that women are far more likely to suffer pay disparity after giving birth. It is widely known that men are more likely to request a promotion than their female colleagues, but what is interesting from the research is that after giving birth women aren’t simply given the opportunity to request a promotion, let alone get one.
In the years after having a child research shows women are more likely to return to work part time or not at all, whereas new fathers almost always continue to work full time. Promotion wise, this means men are far less likely to take career breaks so are able to climb up the career ladder quicker.
Statistics show that if a male earned more money than his partner before having a child, there is a 69% chance that they will become a breadwinner or sole earner three years after having a child. Part of this outcome is likely financially driven, given the expensive childcare costs we have in the UK.
Research has also shown that if women return to work for the same employer, whilst they may not risk demotion, they are unlikely to progress up the career ladder.
Businesses should be receptive to parent’s requests to split childcare responsibilities, with opportunities to work remotely, or at times that may not be within normal working hours. Businesses should also take note of the likelihood that mothers will look elsewhere for career progression if their present employer doesn’t offer flexibility. In a bid to retain female parents, strategies should be implemented to help women’s career progression after having children.
Cultural change is necessary in order for men and women to have equal opportunities for career progression after becoming parents. Motherhood should not be a barrier to a successful career.