The Citrix Baby Brain Drain study has revealed that approximately 3,000 new mothers leave the workforce every year due to the cost of childcare. The study also shows that this loss of talent is costing Irish businesses over €68 million every year as firms are forced to recruit new staff and train them sufficiently so that there is no loss in productivity.

The Citrix Baby Brain Drain study, which was run in partnership with eumom, Ireland’s largest pregnancy and parenting website, surveyed expectant mothers or mothers of babies under one year of age to establish whether they planned to return to work after their maternity leave and the factors influencing their decision.

Based on the research findings, it is estimated that:

  • Over 33,500 mothers plan to return to work on a full-time basis out of financial necessity;
  • Approximately 8,200 mothers returning to work will be looking for a new job with more flexible hours;
  • Almost half of mothers not planning to return to work – the equivalent of 3,000 women –stated that the reason for choosing to leave the workforce was due to prohibitive childcare costs;

The research highlighted that working mothers expect Government to play a key role in tackling the issues, with almost half of those surveyed (49 percent) unhappy with measures introduced for mothers in the last budget.

Almost seven in ten of the survey participants would like to see legislation introduced which would see a tax break or subsidy for childcare.

46 percent of the expectant mothers and new mothers surveyed would like to see legislation introduced which would guarantee mothers the option of returning to work part time. Over four in ten mothers would also like to see some form of paid paternity leave introduced.

The study also highlighted that businesses could do more for working mothers, with 32 percent expressing that they would like to have the option of working remotely. This builds on previous research studies commissioned by Citrix which showed that 84 percent of working professional women believed that a flexible working policy was crucial to managing motherhood and a demanding job.

Jacqueline de Rojas, Area vice president, Northern Europe, Citrix said:

“There is a huge pool of female talent being lost every year because of the high costs of childcare in Ireland. This is a critical issue for the economy as evidenced by the estimated €68 million being spent by firms replacing women who would have liked to remain working. Furthermore, over eight thousand new mothers will change jobs because of the lack of flexibility afforded to them by their current employer.”

“Clearly these are major factors as to why women remain poorly represented at senior level in the Irish business community. It is no coincidence that Sweden not only has the most generous childcare benefits in the world, whilst also having the highest representation of women in senior management positions. In contrast, Sweden offers parents 480 days of statutory parental leave per child and caps childcare costs at €132 per month.”

“The duel issues of childcare costs and an inflexible office culture have combined to leave the majority of mothers with the stark choice of working simply to pay childcare or staying at home, with few options in between as they try to balance motherhood and their job.  It’s time that Ireland started to live up to its full potential by unlocking the barriers to productivity for all employees by giving professionals the flexibility to balance their work and personal lives.”

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