“Always look for the positive and play to your strengths”, I often find myself saying to return to work parents getting back into the paid employment game. But for many parents, it’s hard to go into interviews brimming with confidence when you hear that your chances of being hired have dimished from a year ago 44% to 36% as reported by the Regus Working Mothers Study (2011).
It’s the usual culprits of fear of losing the employee because they leave to have another child after the training investment has been made (30%) and the need for flexible work arrangements that continue to be the key issues employers still haven’t found the answers to. Almost a third (32%) of Australian companies are concerned about employing part-time returning mothers because they may not be able to offer the flexibility and commitment of other employees.
But there’s some good news; the majority of businesses now value returning mothers, with 72% globally and 77% nationally, declaring they believe companies that ignore part-time returning mothers are missing out on a significant and valuable part of the employment pool. In addition, fully 56% regard working mums as offering skills that are difficult to find in the current market; and 57% declare that they value returning mothers because they offer experience and skills without demanding top salaries. In Australia, the skills and experience working mothers bring to the workplace are particularly valued (63%).
If Australia’s greatest economic challenge of the decade is the lack of skilled labour (according to the Gillard Government) then businesses might not have any choice but to hire skilled parents and finds ways to make the employment relationship work; and it might just be easier than employers think such as the introduction of realistic flexible work policies and ‘how to guide’for managers and employees – see our list of practical family friendly workplace initiatives. Businesses that bother to invest in family friendly workplace initiatives are likely to have their pick of the best talent – both parents and parents of the future.
Source Regus Working Mothers Study as reported inHuman Capital Magazine Feb 2011. Full Article.
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