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Working parents prefer flexible work arrangements
Fulfilling responsibilities as employees and parents seen as top job consideration, surpassing career advancement and pay rise
The Asset 26 Jun 2024

Working parents in Hong Kong prioritize flexible work arrangements, including hybrid and remote working options, as the most important factor in their job considerations – even surpassing career prospects and a 10% pay rise, a new study finds.

However, while these parents recognize the positive impact that flexible work would have on fulfilling their responsibilities as both employees and parents, four in five working parents (87.6%) said they will quit or are considering quitting their jobs due to a lack of affordable childcare solutions during their working hours, according to a survey by global human resource platform Remote.

Among the 1,002 working parents from Hong Kong surveyed, an overwhelming 77.8% said taking their children to extracurricular activities is the most time-consuming aspect of their responsibilities, followed by tutoring or supervising homework and studies at 46.3%.

This underscores the need for working parents to have access to flexible work arrangements, as it would allow them to better manage and allocate their time, according to the report.

The survey also finds:

  • 86% of respondents agree that a full remote work arrangement would be most beneficial to their mental wellbeing; 74% believe hybrid work arrangement can have a similar impact.
  • 88.8% claim having taken a pay cut or reduced their working hours due to a lack of affordable childcare options during their working hours.
  • 88.9% believe they are overlooked for promotions or opportunities at work because they are working parents.
  • 87.7% have felt guilty or anxious when they requested time off for childcare needs.

Burdens of childcare

The results indicate that amid return-to-office mandates, uncertain economic outlook, and increasing cost of living, the financial and emotional burdens of childcare have become more pressing than ever.

An overwhelming majority of working parents are struggling to balance their career prospects, childcare duties, and personal wellbeing while working in-office.

While employers may be open to offering flexible working arrangements for their employees, the findings suggest more needs to be done to help employers in better implementing such arrangements.

Though 42.1% of respondents said flexible working arrangements are implemented in their workplace, an overwhelming majority also reported feeling that they have been offered “fake flexibility”. Among those who would feel uncomfortable when submitting a flexible working request for childcare purposes, 43% believe doing so would result in termination.

“Our recent study offers a glimpse into the complex and challenging landscape that working parents face when navigating parental and professional commitments,” says Remote co-founder and chief executive officer Job van der Voort.

“It’s exciting to see that across the board, flexible work arrangements offer substantial benefits for working parents. Employers must actively embrace the reality that remote and flexible working arrangements are key to realizing the full potential of a well-supported workforce.”

Remote’s first Working Parents Report surveyed 13,859 working parents with children under the age of five across 13 countries and regions – Hong Kong, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands, Spain, Finland, Belgium, Singapore, Australia, and South Korea.

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