Ben Black's monthly summary of everything you need to know about work+family - female leadership, flexible working, gender diversity, and a bit of childcare/eldercare news to boot...
Has parental leave policy become the best new weapon in the war for talent?
It certainly seems to be going that way. Have a look at the latest work from the Bright Horizons consulting team which produces the UK's best research of the landscape for parental leave.
Lots of today's most impressive talent has young children. And the reality of the modern world is that the best talent has a choice of employers - so why on earth wouldn't talented new parents work for a decent purpose-driven organisation that understands that career and family are not mutually exclusive?
November saw Vodafone become the latest example of a global employer harmonising its parental leave policy across the world. If you're unsure what the research results mean for you or how to benchmark what you already provide, please come and speak to us.
This article from People Management also struck a chord: people will genuinely work better for less if you find a way to help them with their work-life challenges.
Brexit - the script is quite well known now
The parties compete to see which can make the most outlandish promises about future childcare spending. Those of us in the sector simply get used to disappointment. I rant about the topic regularly, so I will resist the urge this time. Suffice to say fixing childcare funding would take a lot more intellectual focus than any of the parties seem prepared or able to throw at the problem currently.
The Tories after all have overseen the mess for the last 10 years and Labour is now promising to put back in place lots of systems that caused the problems in the first place.
Money aside the only way to fix the childcare sector is to convince more men to be carers. And on that subject we had deafening silence from the main parties.
On a happier Brexit note, have you noticed the impressive number of female MPs standing from all sides? Just a pity that some of the more moderate and sensible female MP's have decided not to stand because of the visceral nature of today's politics.
The manifestos did though have a few bits of good cheer for the massively under-funded eldercare sector and even a bit of consensus! It seems like everyone is agreed that a level of free care for elderly dependents is the way to go.
Elsewhere Carers UK produced research showing that women typically become carers 10 years earlier than men. That makes sense. If you have taken the lead on looking after your children, then it is more likely that you will also take the lead when eldercare need arise in the family.
International Men's Day in November
No surprise to find out on the same day that lots of firms (1 in 5 apparently) still actively encourage male employees not to get involved in parenting duties for fear it will affect their productivity. Reading that another way of course means that 80% of firms understand that the best way to engage your workforce is to embrace working parents or both genders - I am ever the optimist!
And finally, a word about Female Leadership
We had the launch of #MeTooPay - 100 of the UK's leading women demanding equal pay. Impressively the names came from pretty much every industry sector.
Hampton-Alexander produced its annual findings of female leadership in UK boardrooms - slow but steady progress was the report's summary. Over the years there have been various studies supporting the belief that gender diversity is linked to improved company performance. Clearly though, it needs to be about a lot more than appointing a token couple of female NEDs.
Have a look at this article in the FT that examines a study from two academics at INSEAD linking gender diversity at board level to lower share prices using data from 1,600 US quoted businesses. Don't blame the FT though - it did its bit for female leadership by appointing its first female editor - congratulations to Roula Khalaf.