Business in the Community is launching new research to explore the experiences of fathers and male carers in the workplace and the pressures they face.

The Equal Lives project, in partnership with Santander UK, aims to highlight the issues men face when managing responsibilities at work and home and identify workplace practices and policies to help employers retain skilled male and female employees.

Increasingly men want to be more present at home, but feel that their requests to do so are frequently unheard by employers. Currently fathers are twice as likely as mothers to have their requests for flexible working turned down, and their work-life balance is increasingly a source of stress. Men are increasingly taking on caring roles for parents or other relatives which are not recognised and supported well by employers.  Meanwhile, many women are currently prevented from progressing at work because they shoulder the bulk of caring responsibilities at home – UK women still carry out 74% of childcare and do 60% more domestic labour than men.

As employees’ lives become increasingly complex, the ability to adapt to these changes represents a significant challenge for employers, who risk losing out on their best talent otherwise.

The survey will explore if and how men can be more involved at home and what would enable them to do so, and how men’s involvement in caring affects women’s careers. It will include questions on issues such as flexible working, shared parental leave, and men and women’s values, attitudes, behaviour and preferences around work and care.

Chloe Chambraud, Gender Equality Director, Business in the Community, said:

“Gender equality is about ensuring that both men and women are able to fulfil their potential at home and at work and contribute equally to society. If we are serious about tackling gender imbalances in the workplace, we have to look at gender imbalances in responsibilities at home Women carry out 60% more domestic labour than men and pregnancy discrimination in the workplace is rife.

“Enabling more men to manage work with caring responsibilities and looking at how employers can support them to do this, is vital in ensuring men and women have equal opportunities both at home and in their careers. That’s why Business in the Community is calling on people from all backgrounds who have caring responsibilities to take part in the survey and help create real change for employees.”

Vicky Wallis, HR Director at Santander UK, said:

“It’s clear that many men would like to strike a better balance between their work and family life, but can feel held back by outdated norms and a lack of support and flexibility from their employers. By taking part in this ground-breaking research, you can help to develop a fuller picture of the barriers men face to taking on caring responsibilities in the home, and the practical steps employers can take to support them.

As attitudes to work-family balance shift, those employers that don’t adapt will have less engaged staff and risk losing out on vital talent. At Santander UK, we are determined to create an environment where men are confident to be themselves, and able to realise their full potential as parents, partners and carers.”