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‘6.5 million women reconsidering career options for more flexibility’

Story by
Sarah Rice, Editor and Director, The HR World

6.5 million women reconsidering career options for flexibility

New research has shown that nearly half (46%) of UK women are currently reconsidering their career options to allow more flexibility.

In a study of more than 2000 women by beauty company Avon 91% of employed women said they cannot choose their own work pattern and only 9% say they can.

Over the last 16 months, the pandemic has changed routines and the way people work, however with the UK now given the go-ahead to return to the office from mid-July, it seems revised employer post-pandemic working policies still do not offer many women the flexibility they require.

The research, also showed more than half (55%) wish their employer offered more flexible working hours, with the top benefits including providing a better work/life balance (63%), making it easier to manage childcare or caring responsibilities (56%), reduced stress (54%) and higher job satisfaction (35%).

Working mothers

Working mothers are particularly affected, with over a third (35%) going as far as to say they would be happy to take a pay cut if it meant more flexibility with working hours, demonstrating the real desire for change.

Over a quarter (26%) of mothers say their ideal would be being able to work from home full time – however, of those whose employers have made a decision about post-covid working arrangements, only 5% will be able to work entirely from home and a huge 38% will be working in their office five days a week.

Entrepreneurial flair

The research finds that over half (56%) of women agree they would rather work for themselves if it meant they could get more flexibility.

A sign that perhaps more women are keen to earn on their own terms, is that a quarter (25%) set up a passion project during the pandemic. Projects which came out top include building an online retail business (24%), tutoring or teaching (15%) or blogging/vlogging (15%).

Avon, which has been built on a flexible working schedule, said they saw an 114% surge in the year on year number of new signing up at the start of the pandemic.

Tracey Powers, Head of Beauty Business Owners at Avon, said: “We know the pandemic had a negative impact on everyone, but particularly on women and especially working mums, so it’s concerning to hear reports that Covid-19 has set the fight for gender equality back decades. With increased childcare responsibilities over the last year and financial strains for many, an increasing number of women are looking for new, flexible earnings opportunities, that fit in with their changing lifestyle.

“Avon is far more than just a beauty brand; our business model was founded on the notion of women’s empowerment, equipping them to earn, learn and become an entrepreneur on their terms. Avon Reps establish and run their businesses in their own way, built around their individual lifestyles and life stages, careers and ambitions. It’s never been more relevant with the challenges women face post pandemic.”

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