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WFH Harms Women’s Careers: Return to Office or Lose Men

WFH Harms Women’s Careers: Return to Office or Lose Men, Warns Aviva Boss Amanda Blanc

  • Mothers may miss something if they sit at their desks less often than their male peers
  • Blanc’s comments came as millions of workers returned to the office
  • Several leading city institutions are rehiring their staff



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Women’s careers could be damaged if they continue to work from home, the boss of one of the city’s largest institutions warned.

With more and more people returning to the office following the end of Covid restrictions, Aviva chief executive Amanda Blanc said working mothers who take on most of the caregiving responsibilities could miss out on sitting at their desks less often than their male peers.

The mother of two called for an end to the ‘hokey-cokey’ in-out work-from-home tutoring: ‘If you see all the men coming back to the office and the women not, then clearly the women won’t be around if some of the the conversations are going on and they will miss opportunities.

Warning: Amanda Blanc said working moms who take on most childcare duties could miss out if they spend less time at their desks than their male peers

Warning: Amanda Blanc said working moms who take on most childcare duties could miss out if they spend less time at their desks than their male peers

“So that’s what I’m shouting – I don’t want that to happen. We know that women’s advancement in financial services just isn’t good enough – women aren’t moving up to senior positions fast enough.

We just have to make sure that we don’t endanger women’s opportunities with our way of working.’

The comments came as millions of workers returned to the office following the lifting of Covid restrictions.

Several leading city institutions are hiring their staff again.

A briefing note from a team at investment bank JP Morgan, seen through the post, said staff must be in the office for three days, including a Monday or Friday. As a result, many employees would no longer be at their desks on their preferred days, namely only Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Goldman Sachs has also asked its 6,500 London employees to return, and rival Citigroup expects the staff to be there “at least three days a week”.

Blanc said her staff would be in the office three days a week.

She told the BBC: ‘I am very keen that we have a physical presence in the office, even though I think the way we work in the office will be different from how it was pre-Covid.’

Sir Iain Duncan Smith, former leader of the Tory Party, said: ‘There is an entire ecosystem in Britain’s cities and town centers that depends on people working in it. If people don’t come to work, it’s not there for their social activities. There are many people who depend on jobs in bars, restaurants and shops. If employees don’t go back to their office, this ecosystem will not survive.’

Many companies are cautiously getting their office workers back to commuting, requiring staff only three days a week. Blanc previously spoke of a ‘maternity penalty’, which many women face in their careers after returning from maternity leave.

Blanc: ‘Scrap EU pension rules to free up billions’

The government should abolish EU rules that limit where pension funds can invest, the Aviva boss insisted.

Amanda Blanc said Chancellor Rishi Sunak should scrap so-called Solvency II regulations, which limit the types of assets pension funds can hold.

This could free up billions of pounds to invest in areas such as renewable energy plants, improved transportation systems and emerging industries, she said. Solvency II was introduced to ensure the safety of investors’ money and to ensure that their pensions are protected in the event of a recession. But Aviva was under constant stress testing and had enough capital to cover a crisis.

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