Merrill is in 'working mum' top 10

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Full marks were awarded for its offers of childcare, parental leave and work-life balance.

Lower marks went to flexible working and the advancement of Merrill's women.

But next year may yet see the bank excelling on all counts.

In the US the bank is committed to making 30% of its vice-presidential hires women and is promoting flexibility, job-sharing, part-time work and compressed work weeks.

However, these winning policies do not all extend to the UK. The London office offers good terms of maternity benefit and runs networking days and a creche in the Barbican.

The company is implementing an extensive diversity programme with a female-friendly focus. But there are no hiring goals as yet.

For the moment, Merrill's mothers can find better working conditions and job prospects across the Atlantic.