Jack and Emily – the most popular names of Irish babies born in 2013. Well if you have given birth to a Jack or Emily in the last few years you know what challenges you meet with on a daily basis when it comes to work / life balance.
It was a surprise to me initially when I learned that although the birth rate in Ireland increased from 48,787 in 1995, to 61,372 in 2005, it actually reduced from 72,225 in 2012 to 68,930 in 2013. Many of my friends are on their second or third baby and some have babies who are now in their early teens. For women in their prime – both from a career and child bearing year’s perspective, 28 to 40 is a difficult phase for many to go through. During the recession the birth rate rose as many women had put off having babies in order to pursue their career during the good years. As the economy has picked up the birth rate has slowed down again.
I am interviewing highly accomplished and intelligent women daily who have come to that difficult juncture in life. Many are asking themselves the question – “how do I reach and maintain my potential in my career without compromising my choice to be a good Mother?” and let’s face it nobody goes into parenting without the wish and desire to be the best they can be at it. Careers end but children live on to critique you in the future!
However, there is a very positive trend happening and it is spreading. Companies are getting really smart about keeping and attracting good people including working Mothers. Many of my clients are open to being flexible when it comes to those years where women are having to make difficult decisions around maternity leave, hours of work, parental leave etc. For women returning to work from maternity leave and for those with children in Creche and of school going age, more and more companies are offering flexible working conditions. The option to work from home a couple of days a week, allowing working mothers to do pick up and drop off from Creches or Childminders instead of wasting time stuck on a bus or in a car in traffic. Clients are offering flexi time where an individual can build up time off every month. Also there are options for employees to start early and leave early to facilitate a better work / life balance.
As rental prices and house prices for a typical family home have increased, more and more employees are having to travel distances to and from work. With companies incorporating a new arsenal of options for their employees to flexible working conditions, they have access to a larger talent pool who do not have to factor in their travel time when considering job opportunities.
I get asked the question a lot – “are there any part time roles out there?” Unfortunately at the level I am recruiting at – senior level Accountants in Banking / Insurance / Funds / Aircraft Leasing, the opportunity to work part time doesn’t seem as much of an option. As the economy has improved significantly, most key roles in a company are busy and not necessarily facilitated by working part time. That is not to say there aren’t part time options but generally speaking, not really. However a good employee is facilitated by their employer in the other ways outlined above.
Employees with flexible working options are happier and more than likely healthier. If you analyse the sick days of an employee who is facilitated in this way I guarantee they are way down on the person who is working from 7am to 7pm every day at their desk and then stuck in traffic either to or from work.
Families are important to the successful running of any economy and thankfully companies are using more joined up thinking to help keep employees happy and engaged during their core hours of work but not encroaching on their home / family life. As the unemployment rate is projected to reduce further to 8.42% in Q1 2016, it is important that companies continue to facilitate and value an engaged and hard working employee.
A happy employee is a much more productive employee!
If you would like to discuss opportunities for experienced Accountants across Financial Services, please do not hesitate to contact me here at Morgan McKinley for some further advice.