Employers face an easing in the pressure to offer flexibility for their workforce, according to new ABS data, which has revealed a fall in the number of working mothers using such arrangements.
According to the Bureau of Statistics’ education program manager, Stephen Collett, a sharp upswing in the use of flexible work arrangements in the early 2000s has slowed or even reversed in recent years.
Mr Collett noted that in 1999, just over a quarter (27 per cent) of all male parents with children under the age of 12 years used at least one form of flexible working, such as part-time work or staggered hours, in order to care for their children.
By 2008, this had increased significantly to 41 per cent of Australian fathers.
However, 10 years on, that figure has remained virtually unchanged, ticking up only slightly to 42 per cent.
For working mothers, though, the ABS actually recorded a fall in the usage of flexible work arrangements. In 2011, three quarters of all female workers with young children used at least one form of flexibility, having increased from 68 per cent in 1999.
Yet in 2017, this proportion had fallen back to 70 per cent.
Mr Collett suggested that women are increasingly ditching part-time work – which correlates with overall female participation in the workforce hitting record levels in early 2018.
He also noted that remote working has shown only a modest increase in popularity among both mothers and fathers.