Nearly two-thirds of women have good work/ life balance

The majority of women are happy with their current set-up - but employers could be more helpful.

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Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Judging by David Cameron’s new Cabinet, Britain still has some way to go when it comes to promoting women to senior positions – just 22% of them are women, leaving us lagging behind the likes of Spain (53%) and Germany (37%). But in at least one respect, the lot of UK working women seems quite positive: according to a new study by Kenexa, the majority think they have a good work-life balance. Unfortunately, we’re not convinced that Theresa May et al are likely to fall into that category any time soon…

Kenexa’s study found that 62% of women claimed to have achieved a good balance between their personal lives and their working lives. This might sound slightly nebulous, but in fact the question was defined in rather more detail: women were asked if their routine allowed them to hit targets at work while devoting enough attention to their personal lives. Apparently, they’re more likely to achieve this enviable status if they’re satisfied at work with low levels of stress; if they enjoy (or even ‘get excited about’) work; if they feel there there’s a ‘promising future’ for them at their workplace, despite having children; and if they feel their contribution is valued by their employer.

Unfortunately, the survey also found that only 56% though their employer was sufficiently supportive of their efforts to get the balance right. Now we should stress that this is a relatively small-scale study, with a sample of just 1,000 women. But the basic premise rings true: although the days are gone when women of ‘child-bearing age’ were viewed as second-class citizens, companies can still do more to improve their infrastructure and internal processes if they women to keep ‘bringing home the bacon and scrambling the eggs’ (as Kenexa puts it).

Incidentally, the Tories have always backed flexible working – even suggesting that it should be extended to all employers (including those in the public sector). Indeed, Theresa May herself has come out as a public supporter of flexible working rights – so perhaps we can expect to see that legislation before too long. Since Dave doesn’t have many women in his Cabinet, let’s hope he at least proves to be a flexible boss – even though somehow we doubt Baroness Warsi is going to have time to pick her daughter up from school every day...

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