More than 120,000 mums have taken to working for themselves via direct selling as they try to manage escalating childcare costs.
Figures released by the Direct Selling Association (DSA), found that of the 400,000 direct sellers in the UK, 30% were working mothers – 20,000 more than last year.
DSA said working mums were attracted to the prospects of direct selling because it allowed them to earn an income as well as manage childcare; the cost of childcare was cited as the main reason for not going back to work.
Childcare has already gone up by 4% in 2013 according to data from Child Poverty Action Group, and this cost is expected to continue rising over the next few years.
DSA, which represents companies such as Avon, Amway and Forever Living, found that mums were increasingly looking at alternatives to traditional employment, particularly as there had been a higher unemployment rate for women than men during the recession, and because many women found that their job were under threat after maternity leave.
Mums have also been attracted to flexible and part-time working options direct selling offers.
Commenting on the findings, Lynda Mills, director of DSA said: “Parents are often faced with an impossible choice – return to work, often under difficult conditions and face astronomical childcare costs, or stay at home resulting in no income. Direct selling however is offering many women the opportunity to work around their commitments – giving them the flexibility to work as and when they choose, while still looking after their children.”
“Direct selling allows anyone, regardless of age, background or prior experience to set up and run their own business. It is a flexible option with minimal outlay allowing people to work the hours they choose with no dependency on the traditional jobs market. The flexibility makes it particularly appealing to parents who can look after their children while working.”
She added: “With women under increased pressure from the traditional jobs market and increasing childcare costs, direct selling is a practical solution that means women can run and develop their own micro-business on their terms.”