We see a lot of candidates hunting for home-based jobs or local work so they can complete their work and parenting duties. Many parents returning to work find jobs within school hour days – but it’s not always a viable option for everyone. So how much does it cost working parents to work?
The crazy cost of childcare
For those who have had a break to start a family, one of the main barriers to returning is the cost of childcare. Like many other things, childcare costs have risen over the last decade whilst many wages haven’t.
And just recently, we have heard about childcare institutions closing due to lack of funding in the wake of free 30-hours nursery places. We have even heard of schools closing on Fridays due to lack of sufficient council funding. This brings further barriers for parents seeking a solid routine for their children.
It’s true that some of these places are outside of the south, but not exclusively so. For those who live within the M25 corridor or London itself, childcare is often an eye-watering expense for parents, with many nurseries charging parents late fees. Less than ideal when your train or bus is running late.
The price of commuting
As well as expensive childcare fees, parents also have to find travel costs. Not cheap when many professionals often commute to main cities by train. So we raised our heads in interest when we heard about the railways losing money due to flexible working and part-time workers recently.
For many years, part-time commuters have been penalised for not being able to take advantage of season ticket discounts. But railways are now beginning to realise they are missing out by not adapting to the new ways of working.
Why home-based jobs attract parents
When you consider all of this, it’s no surprise that many people are working remotely when the job allows it. It means they simply don’t need a season ticket. It makes financial sense for parents who are already paying out a chunk of their salary in childcare fees. And many more job seekers are looking to find home-based jobs to alleviate the financial cost of going out to work.
In addition, commuting can be physically exhausting and mentally demanding when trains and buses are full to standing or running late. You need a good back up plan in case of delays when you’re a working parent.
London commuters’ hidden work penalty
In Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, a typical primary after-school club can set you back £30 a day for two children. Add in Breakfast Club at around £10 for two children per day, and a train fare to London for £23.30 return to Euston (return fare, no travel card – that’s closer to £30) and you begin to see how attractive home-based jobs are from a financial point of view.
We know that the cost of childcare varies from county to county, and we have heard that this is isn’t the dearest when you compare it with the established commuter belts of Surrey and Middlesex for example.
That said, remote jobs can’t always give you access to colleagues in the same way that face-to-face time does. Promotion and career opportunities often lie in the bright lights of the city. But not always. We work with many local employers seeking to attract great staff who can offer all of that and more.
Getting set up to offer work from home
Some businesses still aren’t set up to enable their staff to work from home. But if they were, they’d not only help to boost productivity, retain great talent and reduce absenteeism, but working parents would feel well supported.
If your organisation wants to better support working parents, we offer flexible working advice and guidance to help employers make changes within their organisations to support home working.
Of course, there are other considerations other than financial when you’re a working parent. Not everyone has the option of commuting to a city to find work and may need to work closer to home for health reasons or because they don’t have family support in case of commuter delays.
Local jobs for professionals
Commuting is one way to find work, but not the only way. Local jobs for professionals do exist, and here at Ten2Two, we help employers to promote them.
If you’re seeking a new role, please do register with our flexible and part-time recruitment consultancy to find out more. Or if you’re seeking staff to work part-time hours or if you’re looking to find talent for a hard-to-fill role, we can help with that too. Give us a call to discuss your hiring requirements today.