Researchers at the University of British Columbia have found that mothers are able to earn more money if they have a certain amount of flexibility in their jobs.
The study revealed that the motherhood wage gap closed by 68 per cent when women had flexible work hours and 58 per cent when they were allowed to work from home.
Flexible work hours made the most difference in the lives of mothers with postgraduate degrees. Without flexible hours the moms earned seven per cent less than childless women and with flexible hours they earned 12 per cent more compared to to childless women with flexible hours.
Study lead author and UBC sociology professor Sylvia Fuller says the results highlight a need for employers to evaluate their hiring practices to make sure they aren’t discriminating against mothers and to consider being more accommodating in terms of work arrangements.
“Flexibility might not be possible for all jobs, but it is appreciated by workers generally and make good business sense in terms of attracting and retaining highly qualified employees,” Fuller says. “Not only does flexibility make it easier for mothers to do well in their jobs, but it also alleviates concern from the employer that they’ll be able to.”
This is the first study to look at how flexible work arrangements impact the wage gap between mothers and childless women and how it varies based on the woman’s level of education, according to a release.
Researchers used data from Statistics Canada’s Workplace and Employee survey. The data was gathered from 1999 to 2005 and from 20,879 women between the ages of 24 to 44 with 58 per cent of them being mothers.
The study was recently published in the journal Work and Occupations.