Parents picking up more than £70,000 a year are considerably more likely to work flexibly than those earning £10,000-£40,000, according to research from charity Working Families.
Polling over 1,000 working parents, it found that 69 per cent of those with hefty pay packets (over £70,000) worked flexibly, compared to 47 per cent of those taking home pay in the region of £10,000-£40,000.
The research defined flexible working as part-time hours, reduced hours, home working and term-time only working.
While five per cent of those who haven't pursued a different way of working said that was because it would reduce their income too much, the most common reason given for not taking the opportunity was because the individuals said their jobs couldn't be done flexibly. Other reasons given included the concern it would have a negative impact on their career and because their manager or organisation didn’t like it.
Sarah Jackson, Working Families’ chief executive, told City A.M.: “What we’re getting here loud and clear is the unspoken message ‘I don’t really trust you to do your job', and I think that’s an absolute tragedy.”
She said much of the problem stems from trust – those whose skills are more valued are trusted more and consequently more likely to be offered the chance to work flexibly. “We know flexible working makes business sense across the salary spectrum, so why should only the people who earn the most be able to reap the rewards?” Jackson added. “We want jobs at all levels to be advertised as flexible and this should be the norm, rather than the exception.”
The charity’s research also found the majority of working parents regularly put in extra hours, while inflexible work commitments frequently interfered with their family time. Of the respondents, 68 per cent felt their work impeded their ability to be there for school milestones, such as attending children's performances and parents' evenings.