Almost two-thirds of working mothers are now either working reduced hours or have stopped working entirely, new research shows. 

The pandemic has had a sizeable impact on working parents who have been forced to handle multiple responsibilities, both inside and outside of work.

However, new data from TopCV, a CV writing service, investigated how working mothers have been impacted because of the pandemic.

In a survey of over 1,000 working mothers, two-fifths (40 per cent) reported that they are not currently working whilst a further fifth (19 per cent) said that they have reduced the number of hours they work.

When questioned on why this was, over three-fifths of working mothers (61 per cent) stated that they had been laid off and were still looking for another job.

Over one in seven respondents (15 per cent) said they quit their job as it didn’t financially make sense to work while paying someone to take care of the kids.

An equal number of respondents (15 per cent) also said they either quit their job or took sabbatical leave to accommodate their children’s education.

Just under one in 10 (9 per cent) reporting putting their career on hold until the job market improves.

The research warns that a lack of flexibility may be pushing working mothers into an “either-or” situation, with the juggling act becoming unsustainable for working parents.

As such, the company stresses the importance of implementing flexible schedules including part-time hours, schedule re-arrangements and job sharing.

It further suggests putting extra paid leave into place, thereby expanding maternity policies beyond standard practices.

Finally, TopCV urges businesses to consider adding childcare to the employee remuneration package or creating after school and holiday programmes for children of staff.

Amanda Augustine, careers expert at TopCV, commented:

Nursery and school closures throughout the UK forced many working women to reduce their hours or resign in order to handle the overnight burden of home-schooling and childcare during lockdown. Whilst our data shows that most working mums are eager to return to the workforce, many may be forced to choose between their careers and childcare unless more companies begin offering adequate flexibility policies and other benefits that support their evolving needs.

Though not a new problem, the lack of workplace flexibility experienced during the pandemic has eclipsed any progress made towards achieving gender equality in the workforce. It’s in the best interest of organisations, across all sectors, to establish a ‘new normal’ during the post-COVID recovery by committing to providing benefits that better accommodate working mothers — starting with flexible work arrangements.


*To obtain these results, TopCV surveyed 1,017 UK professionals who identified as female primary caregivers to children under the age of 18 to find out how the pandemic had affected their roles as workers and parents. This survey took place between 8 March and 20 April 2021.