Working parents looking for a new position feel they are discriminated against by employers, new research suggests. In theory the law provides protection against such practices, but in reality it’s very difficult for employers not to view the candidate and their life as a whole, and prejudices, attitudes and expectations inevitably creep in to the decision-making process when taking on someone new.
Survey of working parents
The survey was carried out by the job-site CV-Library, and polled more than 2000 UK workers on their attitudes and experiences of juggling a career and a family. A quarter of working parents stated they felt they had missed out on a job because they have a family and almost two-thirds of these were women.
Despite the laws in place, 22% of those seeking work admitted that they had been asked a specific question about whether they have, or plan to have, a family. Of those questioned in this way, 61% were female, suggesting that attitudes towards the commitment of women in the workplace still have a way to go before true equality hits.
Family impact on career
Working parents remain positive, even in the face of such apparent discrimination, with the majority of job seekers and employees reporting positive feelings around their decision to run a career alongside their family commitments. 61% report that they do not feel that having a family impacts negatively on their career prospects.
Planning a family
The experiences of working parents already in employment seem at odds with this attitude at recruitment stage. Most parents in work are happy with the support offered by their employer and the majority of businesses seem to recognise and act upon their responsibilities in this respect. It appears to be those who are planning to have a family who fear most the impact it will have on their ability to secure a job or enjoy a successful career – some 37% of respondents admitted to this concern.
Shift in attitude
The founder of CV-Library, Lee Biggins, told the Ri5 news site: “While it is disappointing to see that there are still people who feel that having a family is holding them back in their job search, the general sentiment that you can have a family and a career is very encouraging.”
He added: “We are seeing a shift in attitudes, and with businesses providing support for employees with families, hopefully ideas will continue to progress in the recruitment sector until employees no longer feel that they are being passed over for job opportunities.”