BUSINESSES NEED TO DO MORE TO SUPPORT THEIR CARING WORKFORCE
New research from My Family Care and enei has found that UK businesses are not doing enough to support their caring workforce – therefore running the risk of a talent retention crisis. In a survey of 1,000 consumers and 100 employers, research found that 40% of carers don’t get the support they need from friends, family and their employer and only 38% of employers monitor the caring responsibilities of their workforce.
Despite the need for more support for carers at work, there were some positive results from employers. Of the 100 HR managers questioned, one in three (33%) said they have specific policies or communications targeting their carers at work and most of the organisations had wider benefits that would support carers, with the most popular methods of support being:
- Access to an employee helpline or assistance programme (80%)
- A culture that is supportive of flexibility (80%)
- Provision of technology to work remotely (77%)
- Paid time off to deal with family emergencies (71%)
In the survey of 1,000 consumers, it found that many felt that while their employer focussed heavily on the childcare responsibilities of their workforce, very few had procedures in place for those carers of parents, grandparents, siblings or partners.
35% of employees said they rarely or never have any kind of support network available to them – unlike new parents who tend to build a network of people going through the same ‘ages and stages’ as them.
Almost 7 million adults in the UK are providing unpaid care to a sick, disabled (of any age) or elderly person. Over 3 million people combine this care with paid work, which means around 1 in 9 of the UK workforce has caring responsibilities. The rise in pension age and an ageing population means the number is growing rapidly.
Ben Black, Director of My Family Care says: “This research really highlights the need for businesses to find out who of their staff are caring for loved ones and may be in need of extra help. The rise of the ‘invisible carer’ is a very current thing which is only going to get worse as our population ages and more and more people will have to balance work with their caring responsibilities.
“A big thing that came out of our research was the sheer diversity of their caring responsibilities – what they do, how they do it, who they care for, how many hours are involved and how they feel about it.
“While working parents are easy for employers to spot, carers of parents, grandparents, partners or siblings come in all shapes and sizes and often feel uncomfortable talking about their private lives at work. As a result it’s so important for businesses to reach out, find out more about their employees otherwise they risk losing their very best talent.”
Backup care is one solution to the problems carers face with more than half (52%) saying they would appreciate this support. Examples of companies that do – through their work with My Family Care – include KPMG, Citi and Centrica. The impact is improved employee engagement, motivation, productivity and staff retention.