Father power comes to the City

This week a new organisation for London's financial workers was launched - Cityfathers.

Here's the latest from our Highly Placed Professional:

And none other than the UK's Deputy Prime Minister (Nick Clegg) was there to support the initiative. Cityfathers has a sister organisation, CityMothers, which has been going for 18 months and boasts some 3000 members.

So what’s it all about ? Well, according to a survey of over 750 City fathers, half of them mentioned that seeing as much of their children as they would like was the biggest challenge of their working day. Some 45% described their work-life balance as 'less than satisfactory', and more than a quarter took no paternity leave'.

Unfortunately the long hours that working in the City entails has gone with the territory for decades. There's all too often a direct trade-off between the commitment you are able to make in pursuit of financial and professional success, and the amount of time you can devote to your family. 

There are now moves afoot, however, to try and level the playing field - efforts to create more four day week positions, or part share opportunities to enable parents to balance their professional and family life.

With new technology, too, it’s now easier to stay in touch with the office from home anyway. But some things, I think, will never change. If you are working on a dealing floor, for example, they do literally need bums of seats. I’ve heard of mothers being able to do job shares and taking a lower salary and half the bonus to work more flexibility, but if a male professional tries to explore the possibility of some sort of arrangement, most requests would be met with stony faced contempt.

Whatever the reality, I take my hat off to the organisers of Cityfathers and similar organisations. It should be possible to achieve a better work-life balance in this day and age without having to compromise on professional standards. If we had more balanced and rounded people in investment banks - less motivated by money - we’d no doubt have a better working world.

Just because older generations had to work until late in the evenings and at weekends doesn’t mean we have to sentence the next generation to the same grisly fate!

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