Industry charity Nabs has launched a Working Parents Programme off the back of research that found 57 per cent of people in the marketing industry know someone who has left a job because of parental pressures.
One of the key themes of the research - which involved 500 parents and non-parents split equally between creative agencies, media agencies and media owners - was that mothers and fathers have a strong feeling of guilt when they are away from their kids at work and vice versa.
Of the 500 respondents 16 per cent said they feel guilty at work because of parenting responsibilities, 26 per cent said they feel guilty at home because of work responsibilities and the majority (43 per cent) said they felt both guilty at home and at work.
As a result, 70 per cent of parents find themselves working in the evenings, 55 per cent regularly work from home, and 47 per cent of working parents end up working on weekends.
Technology is one of the contributing factors to this, as Zoe Osmond, CEO at Nabs explained to The Drum ahead of the first workshop for the programme on 15 May which will look at overcoming guilt. She said that technology has enabled working parents to be constantly connected to the office and this is both a blessing and a curse. While they can be kept in the loop they are also able to pick work up when they are home or have put the kids to bed meaning that the boundaries between a work life and home life are blurred. Commenting on why Nabs has launched the Working Parents initiative, Osmond said: “There is no doubt that the tipping point on the pressure scale [as a working parent] is a lot lower than it would be if you’re not a working parent, and that’s why we developed the programme.”
She explained that the people most likely to benefit from the workshops, seminars, and one-to-ones are those that don’t necessarily have the infrastructure around them to support them in the being both successful at work and at home. “If you ask people in the industry who their ideal working parent is they will say ‘don’t give me the perfect CEO because I know they’ve got the budget and nannies teamed up around them’,” Osmond said. “They’re looking for tips and behavioural strategies for how to help them manage the work/life balance.” How to achieve this balance will form the second session in the programme on 22 May. Others include ‘Your brand as a working parent’ (12 June) and ‘Managing your transition back to work’ (24 June).
The research also found that mothers continue to face the greatest challenge in making it to senior and board level of their chosen careers. When asked how many of their management team were working fathers, 62 per cent of those surveyed said the majority. Conversely, only four per cent said working mothers made up their management team.In response to this finding, The Drum spoke to four working mothers in the industry for a wider feature to be published online and in the 28 May issue of its print magazine. In it, Leigh Thomas, CEO at Dare, Cilla Snowball, group chairman and CEO at AMV BBDO, Anna Vogt, strategy director at BBH, and Charlie Hurrell, head of account management at DLKW Lowe all offered their thoughts on the research and experience of juggling the demands of being a working parent and achieving their career ambitions.