Tuesday 27 September 2016 12:42 pm

Mums could boost London economy by £16bn with more flexible working

A lack of flexible work for stay-at-home mums is costing the capital up to £16bn in lost economic activity every year, a new report has found.

Over three quarters of stay-at-home mums in London would go back to work if there were more flexible options, according a survey by Digital Mums and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR).

Another 40 per cent of mums in work would take on additional hours if they were able to fit them around childcare, while 20 per cent have been put off from applying for a job because they did not think it would offer flexible working.

Researchers calculated nearly 13m working hours were being lost every week – the equivalent of £16bn a year in economic output.

Read more: Mobile working, flexible working, cloud-based working … is any of it actually working?

Responding to the findings, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan urged businesses to make sure they adopted flexible working practices to ensure they – and the economy – did not lose out. He said: “It is unacceptable that in London today, one of the world’s greatest and most progressive cities, mothers feel that their career prospects are limited by lack of access to flexible working.

“I hope businesses in London … remove barriers to employment that women face so we can maximise their huge potential.

The findings come despite new shared parental leave plans, introduced in 2014, which allow working parents to split 12 months worth of parental leave between them.

Read more: Flexible working is on the rise, but we're not there yet

Kathryn Tyler, co-founder of Digital Mums, which offers training and flexible jobs for new mums, said: “In today’s highly connected world, there’s simply no need for businesses to stick to an archaic nine-to-five desk policy. We need a societal shift to embrace flexible working as the ‘norm’ and not the exception.

“This will not only help mums find rewarding careers that fit their skills and family life; it will help businesses tap into an amazing talent pool and, ultimately, increase output for the economy.”