Back on track: making the most of parents’ working lives

Publication type



Nicole Gicheva and Nigel Keohane

Publication date


This report outlines the impact of parenthood on the work outcomes of mothers and fathers.
Mothers face a long-term employment penalty, comprising shorter hours and lower hourly earnings. Fathers too struggle to balance their work responsibilities with caring for their family. Supporting parents back into work can help the economy tap into a skilled and under-utilised workforce and thus benefit employers and parents.
The report puts forward new proposals to help parents progress in their occupations and achieve a work-family balance, including: 1)Professional and employer bodies should develop ‘keeping in touch’ initiatives for parents taking career breaks so that their professional knowledge, training, and accreditation remains up-to-date. 2) Ensuring that there is a wider policy focus on parents with lower skills levels, including introducing apprenticeships reforms so that those returning from a career break can re-train flexibly and part-time. 3) Creating a more honest discussion among politicians and employers about the cultural forces which dictate the choices of mothers and fathers, and the benefits to employers of hiring parents.


Labour Market, Households, Public Policy, Childbearing: Fertility, Wages And Earnings and Caregiving


Related Publications

  1. Government is failing new fathers who want to stay at home, say MPs and campaigners
  2. Why being a parent can widen the gender pay gap to 20%
  3. Working mothers earn 20% less than fathers
  4. I work part-time. More men should do the same