21 May 2019 11:01am

Businesses lose millennial dads over work-life balance

Most UK companies have failed to understand the “seismic shift” that has taken place among male millennials and are not offering them the flexibility they require to balance work demands with the desire to be a hands-on dad

This short-sightedness is already impacting on recruitment and retention at a time when staff with the right skills are in huge demand, research by Deloitte and millennials platform Daddilife reports.

Their survey of more than 2,000 working fathers between the ages of 24 and 40 reveals that 58% of fathers are now actively involved in day-to-day parenting.

Nearly 40% of fathers have asked for a change in working hours to enable them to spend more time with their children yet 44% have had their request turned down. Close to half (45%) say they regularly experience tension from their employer – and 39% say the same about work colleagues – when trying to balance the demands of home and work.

Worse, 37% admit the stress of trying to balance these competing demands has impacted negatively on their mental health, while 45% find it hard to switch off. Nearly two thirds (61%) feel guilty about the effect on their partner and 51% about not spending time with their children.

As a result, one third of fathers have already changed jobs since becoming a father, and another third are actively seeking jobs with more understanding and sympathetic employers.

Daddilife founder Han-Son Lee said that there was a real gap in provision for new working fathers who needed help in sorting out paternity leave, flexible working and dealing with employers who refused to listen.

“Society is changing fast and if organisations want to retain their best employees, government and business need to drive meaningful change for a new generation of fathers.”

He added that his organisation had built its new campaign hub to promote those businesses that are “doing it well and providing the advice that dads desperately need”.

One of those businesses is Deloitte, which, according to the Big Four firm’s managing partner for talent, Emma Codd, has made agile working a key priority and focus. “Enabling everyone to balance their commitments outside work with a successful career is critical to our ability to attract and retain the best people: these findings serve to show why this focus is so important,” she said.