At a networking event recently a businessman mentioned that his wife – a highly educated, highly experienced professional – had left her role in an accounting firm after their children were born because “after the cost of childcare it was hardly worth her while to continue to work”. Their children are now in school and with that, a new challenge: how to deal with the months of combined school holidays throughout the year, when the average worker in Australia gets four weeks leave a year. So she continues to manage the household, and having been out of the workforce for several years now is uncertain when or if she will return.
IMPORTANT NOTE TO READERS WITHOUT KIDS: don’t switch off yet! Keep reading, this is an issue for everyone and we want your input… and here’s the reasons why…
Perhaps you or someone you know has a similar story. It’s tough for many parents to find and pay for quality childcare. I’m sure it does result in many women and men making career changes – either temporary or permanent – and in the case of gender balance in leadership I’m sure it has a huge and incremental impact on the female leadership talent pool.
How we choose to deal with this must be decided by society as a whole.
Whether or not you have your own kids, chances are that the people who report to you, work with you, buy your products and services or serve you as suppliers are impacted by childcare challenges.
The decisions they are making every day in relation to the care of their kids is impacting on their productivity, accessability and happiness and wellbeing and if you think you can ask them to switch off from it, think again.
I know from my own research and experiences that childcare is an emotive and important issue: for families, employers and the productivity of our country as a whole. And when it comes to gender balance, it is a foundation that we simply have to get right.
Which brings me to the question on childcare and careers: do they mix?
sphinxx has been following the childcare challenge for some time now in order to understand the impact it has on the career advancement of women. And yes, I know that men are also involved in parenting – we’re interested in their thoughts too. So we’ve created a survey to research and better understanding the link between childcare and careers – for you and those around you.
As you can appreciate, there is very little evidence of the impact of the affordability and availability of childcare on the careers of parents and I would really appreciate your help – as a parent, employer or interested party – in completing the quick survey here.
We need the input of each and every one of you so that we can make a difference in influencing policies, practices and public perception.
Please, do help and share your views.
And please forward this email to your partner, friends, family and colleagues and ask them to contribute too – we’re aiming for 1,000 responses and with your help I’m looking forward to gaining new insights that we all can share.