From education to employment


Denise Priest

The balance of power has moved from employer to employee when it comes to the rules of the workplace – according to a survey of 1,750 workers. 

The results show businesses need to change tack if they want to fill vacancies and recruit talent: 

  • Under 35s place the highest value on family life (56%)
  • This age group also has the biggest career aspirations (45%)
  • 51% of under 35s continue to re-evaluate career options and employers with family-friendly policies are favoured
  • 67% of working parents have resorted to using annual leave to cover childcare when back-up care is used up
  • 93% of employees who used back-up care rated their employers as highly supportive of family.

Bright Horizons’ annual Work + Family Snapshot has revealed under 35s expect to achieve career success without sacrificing their personal lives – and the tight labour market is forcing organisations to listen up. 

For the first time, 18-35s are breaking real boundaries by actively seeking out companies that enable them to put their home lives on an equal footing with building a successful career – and there are signs other generations are following suit.

The report also highlights increasing numbers of employees in all age groups have experienced care disruptions – with 57% reporting child care breakdowns lasting five or more days. 

Over two thirds said having a back-up care programme in place at work had enabled them to work on a day they would have otherwise not been able to. However, when subsidised back-up care days run out, 67% have resorted to using annual leave as cover, sacrificing time intended for rest and recuperation.

Encouragingly, over 9 in 10 (93%) employees who used back-up care provision rated their employers as highly supportive of family, creating greater loyalty and less desire to seek new job opportunities. 

Bright Horizons says this year’s annual Work+Family Snapshot comes with a warning to companies without family friendly policies in place to urgently rethink their approach and pay close attention to the demands being placed on their employees.

Denise Priest, Executive Director, Work and Family Solutions, commented:

“These findings highlight the considerable power shift currently underway in the workplace – a phenomenon many of us will have already experienced. Put simply, employees now expect increasing support and recognition for their life outside the workplace – and they have the confidence to demand it. 

“The statistics send a clear message to employers – younger people fully expect to blend career ambition with family; this is the new normal. 

“The UK’s most progressive businesses are already showing up for their employees by playing a practical role in their home and family life, and providing support that helps them combine both successfully. 

“Our data shows businesses cannot afford to be complacent. We have all seen that an increasing number of employees are looking for new opportunities and being a supportive employer will attract them. 

“There is strong evidence that workplace nurseries and back-up care provision increase wellbeing, engagement, and productivity. However, once they have used up a back-up care allowance – two-thirds of employees resort to using annual leave to cover care-breakdowns. 

“There is a growing need for UK companies to step in, provide gap cover and also to ensure there is enough allowance to cover all employees’ dependants, so they aren’t forced to choose between care for children, adults or grandparents when arrangements break down.    

“Additional support that employees value comes in the form of time, skilled advice or help with care-giving responsibilities.”

Bright Horizons’ annual Work + Families Snapshot survey aims to understand more about the current and future challenges its clients’ employees face as working parents and carers. 

To review the full Work + Families Snapshot 2023 report download here:

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