02/11/2012 13:06 GMT | Updated 02/11/2012 13:09 GMT

Survey Shows UK Spouses' Childcare Commitments Are Critical To Female Workers' Success

UK working mothers whose spouses take on all or part of the childcare responsibilities will get more promotions than those who use any other kind of childcare.

A study from the Kenexa High Performance Institute undertaken, surveyed 2,500 professional men and women from across the UK, US, Brazil, China and Japan, asking them in detail about the barriers and enablers to career progression.

UK respondents whose spouse played an important part in childcare said they received more promotions in the last five years and expected more promotions in the future than those with any other childcare arrangement.

For working mothers in the UK, having another relative play a role in childcare resulted in the least promotions, followed by having children in school or day care.

And while more than 16% of female respondents surveyed in other countries employ a nanny, just 1% did so in the UK.

However, just 43% of UK fathers said that their spouse still stays at home with the children at least part-time, compared with an even bigger 52% globally.

Other key findings of the study include:

  • Women in the emerging economies of Brazil and China are making better progress in their careers than women in the UK, U.S. and Japan - linked to economic and business developments, and women in these countries being the most risk embracing, and rating themselves higher on their own job performance, reputation and visibility.
  • The ‘make or break’ years - when important career shaping events can occur for both men and women - are between the ages of 28-45. Although women score higher on career progression-related factors such as career planning, having a mentor and promoting themselves, men still achieve more promotions in these years.
  • Working long hours in an office is not a good way to predict positive career progression. However, it is related to important career-enabling factors, such as seeking new opportunities, networking and the number of critical job assignments.
  • Women in China and Brazil tend to work the longest hours, while women in the UK worked the least number of hours. Men in Japan work the most hours for males, while men in the UK work the least number of hours and in general, women tend to work fewer hours a week on average than men.

The survey also looked at the link between help at home and career progression, finding mothers who receive help with childcare and household responsibilities, from their partner, relatives or other sources, outside of working hours, are more likely to get a promotion than mothers who shoulder these responsibilities themselves.

Dr Ines Wichert, who led the study, said: “Sharing household responsibilities and maintaining a good work-life blend gives working women more time to network, find mentors or sponsors and seek new job opportunities.

"Women need to support scheduling and organise their lives both inside and outside of work if they want to be visible. If they are not, women may find themselves excluded from powerful networks that can provide access to influential individuals as well as valued organisational knowledge and assets.”