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Report reveals working parents are voting with their feet

The Modern Families Index has been published annually by Bright Horizons, the employer solutions, back-up care and nursery provider, since 2012. This year's research notes significant social shifts, risks and opportunities for employers of working parents.

The survey of 3,000 working parents found the following emerging trends:

  • 4 in 10 are looking for alternative employment (this figure shoots to 7 in 10 in more senior roles)
  • Help with the cost of living is the top reason for staying in a role (41%)
  • Over three quarters of working parents (76%) have had to take a day or more off work unexpectedly to meet childcare requirements
  • Dads are seeking support and recognition for their increased hands-on parenting
  • 90% believe the government should provide more support
  • But employers are also expected to provide better and more family-friendly benefits

The 2023 Modern Families Index Spotlight Report revealed 67% of working parents now believe career progression is possible when flexible working is offered and their confidence is building at speed (in 2022, 56% said flexible working would allow them to advance in their careers).

When it comes to flexibility, childcare is the key driver of this for almost half (47%) of the working parents surveyed.

Encouragingly, the survey showed that working parents feel they are able to discuss family issues at work. Seven in ten (71%) feel confident discussing family-related issues with their employer, and three in four (77%) described their employer as supportive of family.

However, with 7 in 10 respondents in senior roles seeking alternative employment in the next 12 months, the findings show employers need to be going further to support employees.

There's a clear message from working parents across genders within the report: Working families believe companies can boost loyalty by helping employees with the cost of living and by having family-friendly policies and supports in place.

Denise Priest, Executive Director Work+Family Solutions at Bright Horizons, said:

“The 2023 MFI clearly evidences the increasing priority placed upon family life by men and women alike.

Key findings highlight the ever-present need for employers to provide their people with support, flexibility and understanding throughout the parenting journey, as well as with their wider ongoing family responsibilities, in order to retain, motivate and inspire loyalty.

The research demonstrates how working parents value help from their employers in dealing with some of the stresses they're currently facing - from the increasing cost of living, to balancing work and home life demands.

This help could range from back-up care for both children and adults, as carers have a particularly high attrition rate, to offering educational support such as tutoring for older children who may be struggling educationally.

This year's report also includes insightful and practical suggestions for forward-thinking employers who recognise this and see the benefit of taking practical steps that will help to set themselves apart in a competitive market for attracting and retaining talent.”