‘Old school’ views of fathers prevail

father pic MFCFathers of young children are struggling to obtain flexible working patterns that suit them, research by My Family Care (MFC) has found.

It surveyed 1,000 dads and found that 60% of those with children under school age don’t have a working pattern that suits them. In total, 28% are unhappy with their work-life balance and 53% want to work differently, either by having the ability to work from home or leave the office an hour earlier.

Worryingly, 50% of those questioned felt working flexibly is seen as a sign they are not committed and 42% felt their career progression would be negatively affected. This is stopping many from asking for the working patterns they want.

Conducting in-depth interviews with 30 fathers, MFC said the general attitude that the working woman should take more responsibility for their children still remains. Many fathers felt this was down to a generational gap, where male senior managers, with grown-up children, were married to stay-at-home mothers meaning they don’t understand the issues that modern day fathers face from a practical, emotional or a cultural sense.

Ben Black, director of My Family Care, said: “Today, two out of three mothers are in employment. This means that once the maternity leave period of parenthood comes to an end, many working couples share childcare responsibilities equally. As a result the role of the father has changed dramatically over the last 20 years and they want more flexibility and understanding from their employer. They are afraid to ask because of the perceived stigma and impact on their careers. In order to keep their workforce engaged and retain their best talent, businesses need to overcome generational differences and tackle the problems head on. An engaged workforce is a productive workforce. ”

My Family Care has produced a free guide detailing what working dads need and want today – giving advice to employers on how they can support them.

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