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Millions of UK women reconsidering career options to allow more flexibility

Tracy Powers - Avon

New research[1] from beauty company Avon reveals that nearly half (46%) of UK women are currently reconsidering their career options to allow more flexibility.

Over the last 16 months, the pandemic has changed routines and the way people work, however with the UK now given the go-ahead to return to the office from mid-July, it seems revised employer post-pandemic working policies still do not offer many women the flexibility they require. In fact, 91% of employed women cannot choose their own work pattern and only 9% say they can.

The research, which surveyed over 2,000 women from around the UK, finds over half (55%) of women in the UK wish their employer offered more flexible working hours, with the top benefits including providing a better work/life balance (63%), making it easier to manage childcare or caring responsibilities (56%), reduced stress (54%) and higher job satisfaction (35%).

Working mothers
Working mothers are particularly affected, with over a third (35%) going as far as to say they would be happy to take a pay cut if it meant more flexibility with working hours, demonstrating the real desire for change.

Over a quarter (26%) of mothers say their ideal would be being able to work from home full time – however, of those whose employers have made a decision about post-covid working arrangements, only 5% will be able to work entirely from home and a huge 38% will be working in their office five days a week.

Entrepreneurial flair
The research finds that over half (56%) of women agree they would rather work for themselves if it meant they could get more flexibility.

A sign that perhaps more women are keen to earn on their own terms, is that a quarter (25%) set up a passion project during the pandemic. Projects which came out top include building an online retail business (24%), tutoring or teaching (15%) or blogging/vlogging (15%).

Avon, which has five million Representatives (or ‘Reps’) globally, enables people to sell products directly to friends, family and neighbours through a mix of online and face to face beauty businesses. Helping to build independent livelihoods, it has pioneered an alternative to the traditional 9-5 work life and supported women to be financially independent for over 135 years, offering a flexible, scalable income. As the pandemic shifted work patterns, the model has become even more relevant and with more people looking to earn on their own terms, Avon saw an 114% surge in the year on year number of Reps signing up at the start of the pandemic[2].

There are also opportunities for Avon Representatives to become full-time beauty entrepreneurs, as independent Sales Leaders. As well as running their own business, Sales Leaders recruit and train a team of other Reps to become true beauty advisors.

Tracey Powers, Head of Beauty Business Owners, said: We know the pandemic had a negative impact on everyone, but particularly on women and especially working mums, so it’s concerning to hear reports that Covid-19 has set the fight for gender equality back decades. With increased childcare responsibilities over the last year and financial strains for many, an increasing number of women are looking for new, flexible earnings opportunities, that fit in with their changing lifestyle.

“Avon is far more than just a beauty brand; our business model was founded on the notion of women’s empowerment, equipping them to earn, learn and become an entrepreneur on their terms. Avon Reps establish and run their businesses in their own way, built around their individual lifestyles and life stages, careers and ambitions. It’s never been more relevant with the challenges women face post pandemic.”

Caroline Boscott (38), an independent Principle Sales Leader with Avon based in Northampton, said: Avon is incredibly flexible and I’m able to run my business around my full-time job as a marketing manager. Securing work last year during a pandemic was proving difficult, but thanks to the flexibility Avon gave me, I was able to earn money while searching for a new role. When I eventually resumed full-time employment, I could easily fit running my own beauty business around my schedule, during my evenings and weekends”.

Christie Palframan (24), an independent Sales Leader with Avon based in Coventry, said: “I became an Avon Representative in July 2018 to supplement my main source of income from my full-time job as an unqualified health and social care teacher. When my priorities changed during the pandemic and home-schooling and childcare was down to me alone, I quit my job in teaching in October 2020 and have solely focused on my beauty business. A career swap can be a risky move, and to do so in the middle of lockdown definitely added more uncertainty – but it’s paid off! My Avon business income matched my teaching income, but more importantly it’s been especially helpful to work my own hours and from the comfort of my own home as I needed to home-school my son.”

To support all its UK Reps and new recruits, Avon has reduced the threshold to earn, (which was previously £90) to the sale of any product. This means that Reps can earn up to 30% commission on their sales. For more information on becoming an Avon Rep, visit www.avon.uk.com/become-an-avon-rep.

[1] Research conducted by Censuswide and commissioned by Avon on 2,013 women between 30th June – 1st July 2021.  Censuswide abides by and employs members of the Market Research Society which is based on the ESOMAR principles.

[2] Avon UK saw a 114% increase year on year in new Reps signing up to the earning opportunity in the period 23 March – 7 June 2020

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