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Blog articles from FFWS, our partner organisations and guest bloggers.

 

New Women Returners Programme helps STEM Employers reconnect with and retain lost talent

By Lesley Macniven, Equate Scotland’s Women Returners Programme Lead.

 

Equate Scotland have worked as change agents across the Scottish science, technology and engineering landscape for the last ten years, helping employers create more diverse, equal and family friendly workplaces. As experts on increasing women’s representation in these STEM industries, our work articulates the social and economic benefits of creating an inclusive workplace culture. As such we work closely with partner organisation Family Friendly Working Scotland (FFWS).

 

Kirsty Blackman, MP for Aberdeen North, made the headlines earlier this year when she was cautioned for taking her two young children to a Westminster committee meeting because she couldn’t find childcare. Here she blogs in support of National Work Life Week and the need for greater flexible working options for everyone.

 

By Nick Cohen, bizanywhere

A study by the Centre for Economics and Business Research revealed that a work from anywhere culture could add an extra £11.5bn per year to the UK. 14.1 million British workers want to work flexibly. Office culture is moving towards productivity, not just being chained to a desk appearing that you’re working. Most organisations (particularly SMBs) need their workforce available outside of traditional office hours. It’s also even easier to work internationally so being flexible in your working arrangements is key to being available to do business.

 

Retaining female (and all) talent at the top

Last week the headlines were full of the so-called ‘mummy tax’ and news that women in the UK who return to work after having a baby continue to earn less than men for many years afterwards. The Chartered Management Institute (CMI) tells us that Scotland is one of the worst culprits in the UK, with the gender pay gap standing at 29.2%. I can also tell you that the estimated costs of under-utilising women’s skills is estimated to be between 15 and 23 billion pounds or 1.3 to 2.0 per cent of GDP (CIPD).

 

“Hello! Is there anybody out there” an army of workers are currently yelling into the void that is the flexible job market.

Flexible working is becoming a reality for more workers and while not quite the norm there is an appetite for change brought about by employee expectations, changing workplace demographics and a realisation by employers that flexibility is remarkably good for business. The Scottish Top Employers for Working Families Awards run by Family Friendly Working Scotland show us that more and more organisations offer flexible or agile working for existing employees.

 

The public perception of childcare remains mired in the belief that is solely a problem for women, finds Clare Simpson

 

Childcare is high on the political agenda as a crucial issue for parents in determining how many hours they can work or even whether they’re able to work at all. What doesn’t get so much attention is just how vital childcare is to employers: without a pool of workers who have adequate, reliable childcare, businesses would quite simply not be able to operate. In spite of substantial evidence to the contrary, childcare remains stuck in public perception as a women’s issue. Rather than being a women’s issue, childcare is an ‘infrastructure’ issue as Nicola Sturgeon referred to it at the Women’s Employment Summit in 2012. Or as Barack Obama said in his State of the Union address: It’s time we stopped treating childcare as a side issue…or as a women’s issue and treat it like the national economic priority it is for all of us.”