Companies wanting to improve their staff retention and engender loyalty in their employees should consider offering "family friendly" policies.

That is according to The Institute of Employment Rights (IER), which has suggested that businesses have a lot to gain by encouraging existing staff to stay in their jobs.

Commenting on the issue, Carolyn Jones, director of the Institute of Employment Rights, said that businesses under pressure will often look to cut budgets by targeting "vulnerable workers", which she said in the current labour market "is women".

She explained that this approach was "miscalculated" because "if you offer family friendly policies to staff you will get loyalty, commitment and sustainability as employees will stay".

Recruitment scoring website, recently revealed that, if they could, some 81 per cent of managers in Britain would ask female job applicants if they were pregnant, were planning to have children or if they had children.

However, as employment laws prevent them from asking such questions close to 50 per cent of those questioned said they would take into account a woman’s age and relationship status to establish the likelyhood of her becoming pregnant in the future.