Many women across the UK are increasingly feeling the pressure to return to work and face the challenge of reaching an agreement with their employer that enables them to successfully juggle their work and home-life. Some companies are really supportive and recognise the value that working mothers bring to their business, but for many others there is much room for improvement and they are missing out as a result.
According to an article in People Management on the 23rd June, stay-at-home Mums are presenting a ‘social challenge’ for the UK economy. Nearly double the amount of British women are likely to stay-at-home versus the rest of Europe (according to the European Council), so more needs to be done to encourage them back into employment if they want to.
The government has pledged to invest £2 million a year to help with this, including doubling free childcare for 3 and 4 year olds to 30 hours per week. For some families this is great news, giving them more choice and potentially making a large financial difference.
A lot of people will have their own opinion on this topic and some argue that the government should in fact be doing more to help women to stay at home with their children for longer if they want to. However you look at this, ultimately it’s about giving women more choice so they can decide what it right for them and their family.
Back to work versus stay at home?
Every woman is different and their decision to give up paid employment, work part-time or to go back full-time may be affected by several factors; the desire to achieve a balance between work and home, financial necessity and the threat of stepping off the career ladder and potentially never getting back onto it at the same level.
As a working Mum myself who works part-time, I understand just how difficult it is to find a role that gives the right balance of time, career development and money. For me, I wanted to find a job that gave me the time that I wanted at home versus work, that suited my childcare arrangements, used and developed my skills to keep my career progressing and that enabled me to be part of a great team. I have been fortunate enough to find a role and company that suited my needs, but opportunities for part-time roles are very limited, with supply far outweighing demand.
5 reasons why Mums are fantastic employees
Some employers are missing out on many superb people by choosing not to make adjustments that would enable working Mums to work within their organisations. Here are 5 reasons why Mums are a great asset at work – key points for Mums to keep in mind and give them confidence when returning to work or looking for a new role:
- Great at multi–tasking and prioritising – They have lots of hands-on experience at home of having to juggle several things at the same time and prioritising what to focus on in a split second. These skills are highly transferrable.
- Well planned, organised and patient – Looking after one or more children requires lots of planning, preparation and patience – again easily transferrable skills.
- Very hardworking and professional – Most women will work harder than ever to prove that even though they have to leave on time they are still highly dedicated and professional.
- Loyal – Working Mums in a company that treats them well and fits in with their commitments are less likely to look for other job opportunities elsewhere.
- A fresh approach – The opportunity to take some time away from work to have a baby can give a whole new perspective on all aspects of life. This fresh approach can generate a mass of new ideas for the business they work within.
How to attract and retain working Mums to your team
At Aspire Cambridge, we are very keen to help Mums to find a job that suits their wants and needs. We meet with many women who have outstanding CVs and a wealth of skills and experience, but need more flexibility than a standard full-time role can offer. Here’s our advice for employers on how to appeal to working Mums:
- Offer a flexible approach to working hours
- Be clear on workload priorities
- Allow working from home time (if appropriate)
- Offer family-friendly benefits and healthcare
- Ensure regular 1.1s and open communication between manager and employee
To maximise your team, our highly trained HR consultants can offer expert support to companies on a project or ongoing basis; call us on 01223 855441.