Skip To Content
The Mayor of London The London Assembly
Equal Opportunities

Parental Employment

There are a number of attributes associated with reduced rates of employment. Among these is motherhood. Fathers have very high employment rates, with over 90 per cent of fathers in London and the UK as a whole in employment. This is around 20 percentage points higher than employment rates among men who are not living in a parental role. Mothers are much less likely to be in employment than fathers, with the gap larger in London than in the UK overall. Employment rates for men and women with and without children have increased since 2012.  The employment gap between women who are living in a parental role and those who are not, apparent in London in 2012, has closed, but the rate is still lower in London than elsewhere in the UK. At least some of the difference in employment rates between parents and non-parents can be explained by the differences in the age profiles of the two groups, with more younger and older adults among the non-parental group.

Employment rates vary between ethnic groups. Again, some of this difference is a reflection of each group’s age profile. However, while there is relatively little difference in the employment rates of fathers from different ethnic groups, it is clear that there are differences in employment rates of mothers according to their ethnicity. In London, mothers from Black Caribbean or Other Black groups, excluding Black African, and White British and Other White groups are the most likely to be in employment, while Bangladeshi and Pakistani mothers have much lower employment rates. This analysis does not take into account the age or number of children or any other care responsibilities.

The home situation also affects employment rates. Overall, lone parents, the vast majority of whom are mothers, are as likely to be in employment as mothers living in a couple. However, mothers are much less likely to be in employment than women without dependent children living in a couple, while fathers living in a couple have higher employment rates than men without dependent children living in a couple. For each family type, men have higher employment rates than women, regardless of whether or not there are dependent children in the family. The lowest employment rates are among adults who are not the parents living in households with dependent children. It is likely that many of these are non-dependent children who may nevertheless still be in education. For this group, there is very little difference in the employment rates between men and women.