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The man behind this week’s landmark research into working fathers talks about his ‘eye-opening’ findings
Business can’t afford to ignore what millennials want from work according to the man behind landmark new research into attitudes among young dads.
The survey of 2000 dads aged under 40 showed that most have either switched jobs or are actively looking for a different post because they want a better work-life balance.
Many of the participants reported poorer mental health and tensions at work and at home caused by the struggle to balance the demands of family life and employment.
Han-Son went on LBC radio to talk about the project after it was published. “The presenter asked good questions then said he didn’t believe the research, but I’d say about 80% of the people who then took part in the phone-in said ‘this is exactly how I feel’
“There’s an older school of thought that says businesses can’t afford to be flexible, if there’s work to be done it has to get done. But we need to think about real productivity for example. Businesses can’t afford not to be flexible.”
Han-Son revealed why he commissioned the research. “I had a sense this was already happening, that dads were looking for a better balance but the research shows it’s more of a problem than I thought.
“That figure – that one third of fathers have changed job and another third are actively looking to do so because of the sorts of issues the report deals with – was eye-opening. If you scale that up to the entire workforce it’s an enormous number of people.”
The report attracted lots of interest but Han-Son is keen to move things forward now there is evidence of the scale of the problem.
“The research is one thing but now it’s about what action it prompts,” he said.
The report calls for more ‘real modelling’ – role modelling by people at all levels of an organisation. The research found that those earning over £70,000 per year were more likely to have their flexible working request accepted suggesting flexibility is something only for more senior employees.
Han-Son also wants to see line managers being more empathetic to new dads. According to the survey most millennial dads think their companies are aware of the difficulties of juggling home and work yet when they ask to change their working pattern to accommodate that tension too often managers are not sympathetic.
Han-Son has also set up a mentoring programme for new dads which he hopes will make it easier for millennial dads to cope with the inevitable stresses of fatherhood.