The Unrecognised Benefits of Hiring Returning Mums: Why Supporting Women’s Return to the Workplace is Vital
Rachel Morar, Chief Operating Officer at MyKindaFuture, the UK’s leading overlooked talent specialist, offers her insights into the business benefits of hiring women who are returning to the workforce after having children.
With International Women’s Day returning this week, there is no better time to take stock of the current landscape for women in business in the UK and evaluate the progress that is still yet to be made.
Whilst new legislation, including gender pay gap reporting and shared paternity leave, are undoubtably steps in the right direction, a lack of support for mothers returning to the workplace is not only significant but also remains a key challenge for many women in Britain.
The scale of the problem is vast. There is an estimated two million people in the UK looking to return to work after a significant period of time away, nine out of 10 of which are women and many of whom are mums looking to return to the workforce after having children. Yet, tragically, there are countless barriers standing in their way and this talented, and usually highly qualified group of individuals, continues to be discriminated against and overlooked by employers. So much so that an estimated two-thirds of women work below their potential when they return to the workplace. This is unacceptable and makes no sense, not just ethically but also from a business perspective.
Here, I explore just some of the key benefits of hiring returning mums.
- Inject Additional Skills into the Team
Women returning to the workforce, particularly if the purpose of their career break was to have children, come equipped with a host of additional skills that they would not have had the opportunity to develop if they had remained within a role leveraging the same skills every day. These skills include, but certainly are not limited to, increased productivity, efficiency, empathy and a new capacity to multitask.
- Boost the Economy
As well as boosting an individual business’s bottom line, there is also evidence that provessupporting women returning to work after a career break has a positive impact on the UK economy as a whole. In fact, it is estimated that hiring women returning to the workplace would generate an astonishing £1.1 billion annually.
- A Motivated Force
These individuals are also likely to be extremely motivated. Having made the emotional decision to return to work and spend time away from their children, they will be determined and committed to getting the most out of their time at work and, as a result, are amongst the hardest-working individuals in the team.
- Offer a New Perspective
In addition, parents returning to work will bring a fresh and valuable new perspective to the company. For many businesses targeting a consumer audience, a significant proportion of their target market will likely be mums. So, it makes perfect business sense to have mums’ voices heard in the workplace and their perspectives reflected in the way the business operates.
- Achieve Diversity Targets
With more businesses than ever introducing diversity targets, and evidence to suggest that businesses with these targets in place are significantly more attractive to prospective employees, hiring an eclectic and diverse workforce is more important than ever for UK businesses. Employing women returning to work after having children can be successful in helping companies meet these targets, particularly those relating to gender and age.
How can UK businesses work to counter this challenge?
With 76 percent of professional women on career breaks wanting to return to work, it should not be challenging for UK businesses to incorporate these valuable individuals into their recruitment strategies
Despite this, there remains countless unnecessary barriers standing in their way. From discrimination during the recruitment process, through to a failure to support women once they return to work, women returning to the workplace after having children are amongst the most undervalued, unsupported and underestimated groups in society. In fact, an incredible 90 percent of returners claim they received no formal support programme at all upon their return to the workplace.
Clearly, more needs to be done and it is the proactive businesses that recognise this and invest resources into attracting, hiring and retaining women returning to work which will reap the huge rewards that this overlooked talent pool offers.
For more information about MyKindaFuture, visit www.mykindafuture.com