Working fathers believe that taking shared parental leave makes them look less committed to their career, according to a new report.
The Hays UK Gender Diversity Report 2017 found that although 83 per cent of workers view flexible working as an important benefit, 66 per cent believe that taking up flexible working halts progression at work.
The report suggest the reasons for this are that 32 per cent of employees believe men will be viewed as less committed to their career if they undertake shared parental leave. They also believed that women are less likely to be promoted after having children.
Alongside this, 53 per cent of respondents said that a financial impact was also a factor in not taking up shared parental leave for both genders.
Despite these fears, the report highlights that many believe flexible working and shared parental leave could be a factor in improving gender diversity in the workplace. Of those surveyed, 61 per cent said flexible working has improved the representation of women in senior positions.
Speaking about the report, Yvonne Smyth, Head of Diversity at Hays UK & Ireland, said, “Our report highlights that whilst both men and women now feel they have more freedom to promote their skills, there are significant improvements needed to better communicate the benefits that are available, such as flexible working and shared parental leave, encouraging employees to take them up without fear of negative consequences.”
“Encouraging equality when returning to work can start before parental leave begins by improving communication to make it more culturally acceptable for parents to split their leave, helping support women and men who wish to continue their career progression after having children.”
She continued, “It’s concerning that although these initiatives are viewed as important options to both men and women and are directly associated with bridging the gender divide, employees are worried about the negative impact a leave of absence and more flexible working pattern may have on their career.”
“Employers need to be promoting communication and training on this to make sure senior leadership and middle management are better equipped to promote the benefits of these policies and address stated and unspoken concerns.”