Canadian women are still struggling to achieve the optimal balance between their work and family lives.

BMO Financial Group’s International Women’s Day study finds only 47% of women feel they’ve achieved the right work-life balance, with just 31% reporting that their families provide enough support on the home front to help them succeed at their careers.

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However, 68% feel their employer takes steps to ensure they can effectively manage their responsibilities at work and at home.

In terms of what employers can do to help women balance their lives more effectively, women identify the following:

  • better benefits (27%);
  • flexible time (24%); and
  • sick/family emergency days (21%) and vacation time (18%).

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The study also found that 63% of Canadian women feel that staying with one employer over the long term (and being promoted from within) is preferable to switching employers as a way to further their careers.

This may be because 74% of women (and 52% of men) say it’s more challenging for women to prove themselves to a new employer than it is for men. The top challenges women identified when starting with a new employer include the following:

  • establishing a comfortable work-life balance (78%); and
  • perceptions regarding family obligations and/or maternity leave (72%).

When asked about what would prompt them to change employers, the top reasons women reported include the following:

  • poor management/bad boss (57%);
  • insufficient compensation (54%); and
  • poor work-life balance (42%).

“Women need to be empowered to seek out new career opportunities if they choose to do so and not feel that they face barriers because of their gender,” says Sandra Henderson, senior vice-president, personal and commercial banking, with BMO Bank of Montreal and a member of the BMO Women and Wealth Committee.

“While it’s possible to have a successful ‘one-employer’ career, the reality of the modern employment landscape is that it’s often necessary to make moves to get promoted and secure more compensation.”

Looking for more related articles? Click here for more articles on work/life balance.

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