A third (33%) of employer respondents believe the availability of childcare is a key issue in recruiting and retaining staff, according to research by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) and Middlesex University.
The study, which surveyed 1,627 business leaders in the UK, also found that around one in 10 (9%) respondents have seen employees leave their organisation because of the cost of childcare.
The research also found:
- 12% of respondents cite a reduction in productivity as an issue resulting from the cost of childcare.
- 28% of respondents have seen staff reduce their working hours because of the cost of childcare, and 8% of respondents report that employees have changed roles within their organisation as a result of childcare costs.
- 37% of respondents expect government plans to double free childcare in 2017 to benefit their ability to retain key staff, and 39% believe it would benefit their ability to recruit staff.
Adam Marshall (pictured), director general at the BCC, said: “Government must take a clear and detailed look at the costs and benefits of a universal childcare entitlement, to bridge the gap between parental leave and the start of school. This could take the form of a family account that enables parents to select the support that’s right for their working patterns from the market.
“In time, this could help businesses raise productivity, and help more parents stay in work. As businesses have evolved to become more flexible, government policy should also evolve; to help as many working parents as possible stay in the workplace.”
David Williams, director of corporate engagement at Middlesex University, added: “Our research highlights that childcare is a fundamental issue for many employers. Businesses need to retain talented staff and with the renewed focus from the government on upskilling the workforce particularly around apprenticeships and corporate degrees, it is crucial that there is sufficient affordable childcare available for employees who are studying to help fill the skills gaps.”