A third of businesses see childcare as a key factor in recruitment and staff retention, according to British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) and Middlesex University.
A survey on more than 1,500 firms found that 28% have seen their employees reduce working hours due to the cost of childcare.
9% of firms have seen their staff leave the business due to childcare costs.
12% saw a reduction in productivity, while 8% saw their staff change roles within the business due to childcare costs
33% expect plans for free childcare in 2017 to have a positive impact on recruiting staff
37% said the plans would help them retain key staff.
Adam Marshall, director general at BCC, said:
“At a time when economic growth is softening, and skills gaps and recruitment difficulties are hindering businesses, the government should consider the childcare system as part of Britain’s core business infrastructure – in the same way that it thinks of energy, transport, or broadband.”
David Williams, director of corporate engagement at Middlesex University, said:
“It is crucial that there is sufficient affordable childcare available for employees who are studying to help fill the skills gaps.”