1 in 5 have considered leaving work permanently because of the cost of childcare

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Easy Offices surveyed 2000 people across the country to find out how the cost of childcare is impacting careers.

Childcare costs are a major factor in preventing Brits from having children

Finances are a crucial factor for most people when thinking about having kids. 18% of Brits say they would like to have children but can’t afford it, rising to almost a 1 in 4 couples in London, Liverpool and Birmingham.

Childcare costs are a big part of this: 18% reported that these costs were a prohibitive factor in deciding whether to start a family, rising to 37% amongst under 25s. The five cities where this attitude was most common were:


% Not having children due to childcare costs











Men (23%) were more likely to see childcare costs as a prohibitive factor than women (14%).

Less work, more childcare

17% of people surveyed agreed that childcare costs have caused them to consider leaving work.

Interestingly, attitudes varied considerably depending on the type of job people have. The industries where people were most likely to leave their work to save on childcare were:


% Who would consider leaving their work to save on childcare

Sales, Media, Marketing


Retail, Catering & Leisure




The industries where the least people said they would consider leaving work were:


% Who would consider leaving their work to save on childcare





Manufacturing & Utilities


Sacrificing salary for childcare flexibility

A solution to this problem could be to compromise on salary to allow for greater flexibility in childcare. Whilst only 23% agreed that they would accept this compromise, this rose to 36% amongst those who have a child under 18.

23% said they would consider taking a new job with a lower salary in return for better parental benefits, although male respondents were less keen, at 20%.

On average, respondents said they would be willing to sacrifice 9% of their salary for childcare vouchers. Perhaps understandably, the proportion of salary that would be sacrificed for subsidised childcare generally increased with the salary band of the respondents (7% for those earning less than £15k compared to 12% for those earning £65k). 

This was not the case with parental leave, where at every salary band, people were prepared to sacrifice more of their salary for paid parental leave than for cheaper childcare.

How much paid leave should new parents get?

Respondents were also asked about how much paid leave new parents should receive. The average responses were:

Type of parent

Average paid leave


21.7 weeks


13.8 weeks

Adoptive Parents

17.5 weeks

In all three cases, there was a significant gender divide among respondents. More women than men thought parents of all kinds should have more paid leave, and men were also more likely to feel that new parents have too many perks at work: 25% compared to 23% of women.

The views of older age groups contrasted strongly with younger people. Over 55s felt fathers should get 10.3 weeks of paid leave compared to 17.2 weeks for the 25-24 group, suggesting a significant generational difference in attitude.

How companies can support parents with the cost of childcare

Around 23% of employees agree that better paid parental leave would be an encouragement in starting a family. Businesses can help:

  • Give mothers and fathers the same benefits
  • Establish more family-friendly policies
  • Consider using coworking spaces with childcare facilities
  • Allow for flexible and customised schedules
  • Build a strong and empathetic company culture
*Survey was based on 2,000 general consumers in the UK (nationally representative) carried out Censuswide between 09.11.2021 – 12.11.2021

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *