I recently conducted the Childfree at Work survey to over 1000 people. This was part of my research into the experience childfree people are having in the workplace. I’m on a mission to create change and this was further proof of how much it is needed.
I have personally experienced various issues in the workplace during my career and I knew I wasn’t alone. The survey was 9 questions and respondants were from all over the world, from different industries and working different hours each week.
Here’s some of the results
44.5% of people surveyed said they had left a job or thought about because of the way there were treated.
62.5% of people said they were occasionally or sometimes treated differently because they were childfree.
68% of people said they were not comfortable raising the issue or were concerned for their job if they did so.
A majority of respondants feel that a flexible workplace is very important.
And here are some of the statements that are being made to childfree people in the workplace
“My boss is always worrying and asking if and when i will become pregnant. (HR laughs it off). My co-workers get to work from home or have shortened or specific hours to accommodate their children and I am expected to work work work!”
“My request to work from home one day a week was put on hold so someone returning from maternity leave would get their preferred work pattern.”
“Being 32 and not considered for a future role because I’m childless but at child rearing age & there is a possibility of me getting pregnant.”
“I wouldn’t put forward someone for a role who only wants to work part-time who doesn’t have kids, that’s a big red flag for me”. (From male recruitment consultant)
“My availability is assumed. My consent for my time is not asked. Colleagues with children are allowed to be less professional.”
“My boss told me “I must work holidays since I don’t have a family.”
“My boss allows all other co-workers take off or leave early because their child is sick or has a school play, but I get refused personal time off because I don’t really need it.”
“Was turned down for a lateral transfer because I was 35 and married. Other candidate was ‘mature father of 3 and has priorities’. FYI he was 38, not an appropriate fit or qualified for the job and it was widely known by peers. He didn’t last long – I since divorced but that was my last attempt to transfer.”
“I have been shamed in work meetings for not having children. I have been told in my performance review I should reconsider my decision to not have children as I am great at prioritising and I have been told by colleagues my husband will leave me if I don’t bear him a child.”
“A parent on our team was allowed to book out 5 hours of her calendar every day to home school their kid during the pandemic – so not do any work but be paid. Other parents were also given more allowances to take more time out of their day to care for their children.”
And it needs to STOP!!!
So, what now?
From the research I’ve done and conversations I have had with childfree people, I have classified this hidden taboo issue as The Hidden Job Leaver. In workplaces all over the world, people are leaving roles due to the direct way they are being treated in the workplace. This needs to be address and we need to start with educating our workplaces, our employers, our HR managers and fellow staff.
To help with this massive task, I have just created a PDF that it is designed to educate your workplace. It is for employers, Human Resource Managers and fellow employees. How you can help:
- Get angry – this should not be happening and by getting angry, it will spur action
- Download it
- Take it to work and leave it strategically lying around the office or in the lunchroom (if you are so inclined)
- Share it with your boss and ask them to read it.
- Share it with co-workers so they understand the impact of their actions
- Give it to your HR Department and discuss it with them
Do whatever you are comfortable with. Just take some sort of action against it!! This is a resource that can help create change.
If you believe your workplace would be open to more education around this, please get in touch with me about booking a Hidden Job Leaver presentation or workshop. These can be done via Zoom (if you are not in Brisbane) so don’t let distance stop you from taking this conversation and issue much further.
P.S A big thank you to everyone who completed the survey.