While there is no doubt that progress for these groups is essential for a modern-day, competitive workplace, there is another group that is starting to emerge for discussion- millennial fathers. This is a group of people undergoing enormous change, that I believe will be the next horizon for diversity in the workplace.
The new role of modern-day fathers means that the way organisations have previously thought about flexibility, parental leave, and career transitions are about to be open to a whole new section of the workforce.
Millennial working fathers: a hidden struggle
Our latest research, The Millennial Dad at Work, in association with Deloitte, surveyed over 2000 working Millennial fathers in every region of the UK. It has highlighted the fact that no fewer than 87% of millennial fathers play a significant role in day-to-day parenting.
Out of this percentage, nearly 65% have requested a change in their employment schedule in order to accommodate parenting requirements. However, there are a range of issues that have been uncovered too.
More than 50% of millennial dads have come to believe that they are not given the same treatment as workplace mothers in regards to employment flexibility. Furthermore, a full 37% have stated that their mental and emotional health has been affected by struggling to find an amenable work-life balance.
Amongst the other key insights:
- 45% of working fathers regularly experience tension with their significant other.
- 48% have asked for their working hours to be changed since becoming a father.
- A third of all fathers surveyed have changed employment since becoming a new father, with another third stating that they are ‘actively looking.’
This last statistic is particularly alarming, as it has some considerable attraction and retention consequences should we not start providing a genuine solution to this growing gap. Should management be unable (or unwilling) to provide a greater sense of employment flexibility in regards to working hours and scheduling, the chances are high that this talented individual will simply choose to look elsewhere. This brings us to the next critical point.
Accommodating the needs of millennial dads: an emerging trend?
Adapting a workplace culture does not happen overnight. There are a significant number of changes involved and companies will naturally be required to make a number of changes. Having said this, we have already begun to witness a slight paradigm shift in regards to how parental leave is being addressed – with a number of companies having sought to improve their own policies for both sets of parents.
The other positive trend is the increased prevalence of compressed hours. We have seen throughout the DaddiLife community an increased range of discussion about how to take it, and what it’s helped unlock for dads in regards to greater family balance. While those are two very positive signals, we can’t neglect the wider issue at hand – and it’s a cultural one.
In the research we asked each dad not only what he had requested since becoming a father, but what had been granted. The table below are the results.
9% of all the fathers profiled had requested compressed hours, but only 10% of those (0.9% in real terms) had been successful. There is still an awful long way to go.
(Credit: DaddiLife – taken from The Millennial Dad at Work report)
Change is on the horizon, and the horizon isn’t far away!
Why this matters more than ever is that millennials will comprise more than a third of the workforce by next year. Proactive changes are required sooner as opposed to later. Management must be able to embrace the very same notion of flexibility for new fathers as they do new mothers. However, a more organic approach needs to be taken.
What does “organic” mean in this sense? First and foremost, this is not just a policy change. Companies and Senior management should make new dads aware of their options in terms of workplace change and similar hourly adjustments. Employees may otherwise incorrectly assume that no such possibilities are available. New fathers should likewise be encouraged to come forward and to speak with their line managers about any special parenting requests.
Above all, organisations need to illustrate that the working requirements of mothers and fathers are given equal attention. This is one of the central tenets of diversity and it is even more relevant in this day and age. The sheer number of millennial dads seeking employment will continue to grow into the foreseeable future. This is why any changes made in the present will dramatically impact the near future.
About the Author
Han-Son is the founder of DaddiLife – a parenting website for the modern-day dad and author of The Millennial Dad at Work.