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...
Individuals who made the headlines
Let's start with Sacha Romanovitch, the charismatic, forward-thinking, female face of the accountancy profession was ousted from Grant Thornton. The reason might have been purely down to performance, although there was a lingering feeling that she was done in by a bunch of white, male peers.
It couldn't happen to a nicer bloke. Yes, it's Philip Green I am talking about. No surprise that he's finally been caught up in the #MeToo movement. Corporate culture will be a whole lot better and fairer for women as a result of #MeToo - even if it's made a few men a bit nervous about the forthcoming Christmas parties.
Dr Hayaatun Sillem became the first female CEO of the Royal Academy of Engineers which was great. What wasn't so good were the comments of Italian Professor Alessandro Strumia who gave a lecture at Cern trying to prove that Physics was built by men alone. It is fine to embrace the differences between men and women. It is also fine to make the argument that because there are differences, women must be better at some things and men better at others. But if you are going to take that argument and make bold sweeping statements you better have a lot of data and logic behind what you say. Prof Strumia had nothing other than a few old-fashioned attitudes to back up his claims which caused the rumpus.
Research on children in nurseries
Are nurseries better than childminders or are you best finding an amazing nanny? There's no obvious answer. Certainly, in the early years it's continuity of attachments that is fundamental. What is true though is that nurseries are better funded and better organised than other forms of childcare, so no surprise that they shout loudest about the advantages of group settings.
Research from France in October is a good example - children in nurseries are more emotionally stable than those in informal care is the headline. Good nurseries are great; but it's the staff rather than the facilities that matter.
Remember, if you ever need any help making decisions about what constitutes good childcare, nearly all our clients now have access to our childcare choices service.
Eldercare - good news!
The annual CQC state of the nation report came out and the service levels had amazingly not deteriorated any further in the previous 12 months... and a special mention to the amazing levels of support provided by hospices across the UK.
Women in leadership - lack of progress
McKinsey remains the leading commentator on female leadership across the globe; its 2018 report was disappointingly short of new news or headlines. We have generally hit a plateau and the only good news is that sexual harassment, in all its forms, is finally being called out. That will help eventually.
Research from MMB, published in People Management found that confidence after maternity was one of the main challenges. These days there are far few excuses for not making sure you handle the parental transition well - it is all about having the right conversations at the right time.
Elsewhere, under the boring but important heading, Lloyds was ordered to equalise pensions for men and women.
Government - looking at gender pay gap and flexibility
Our esteemed leaders were busy in October. The Equality and Human Rights Commission reported that 60% of women now look at the Gender Pay Gap figures when job hunting!
Greg Clark, the Business Secretary, stated that the Government was looking at making it a duty for employers to ask if EVERY job can be done flexibly. There was good news for social care in the Chancellor's "end of austerity" budget. And it looks like larger employers will eventually be required to publish their family-friendly policies. The big four accountants took the lead by agreeing to publish their parental leave policies.
Where PwC and Deloitte go, others follow...
Flexible working over a pay rise is key, says research
Employee Benefits shared findings showing that 25% of people value flexibility over a pay rise.
Our own research - released as I went to press - is far more detailed and interesting (even though I say so myself). We now have a huge pool of working parents to draw from when we produce research. For our Work+Family Snapshot we asked over 1,600 working parents and carers from over 100 clients what they thought about various issues.
As ever flexibility is key - but no point having flexibility to work in more agile ways if you haven't got the right childcare in place. Full details and research findings.