I will never forget the response from one of my colleagues upon hearing the announcement of my first pregnancy, “sorry to hear you’re leaving”! Not only was I astounded by this slightly antiquated attitude towards my career, but equally surprising was that it came from a woman! At that time, I had no intentions of leaving however at the end of my maternity leave I did submit my resignation. This was by no means to give up on my dreams of climbing the greasy pole and commence a life of baby groups and crafts but to set up my own recruitment business. Despite working part time (in the office!) and being a busy mum to a toddler, I have launched and grown a successful business which now employs 5 staff and has taken our recruitment market by storm. I have even managed to add to my brood and have an 8 week old baby to boot.
Working in the business of finding companies high calibre staff, I am acutely aware that there is still a negativity around employing part-time mothers. Whilst the law has made it easier for everyone to work flexibly, with every employee being able to submit a flexible working request after 26 weeks of employment, the average UK employer is still reluctant to embrace this approach. The main worries of the risk of mums taking time out for sick children or perhaps going on to have more children seem to outweigh any positives.
So, here are a list of benefits to any employer of recruiting a part-time mother;
Many people choosing to return to work already have experience in either the field of work they are in or certainly something equally as skilled or more so. This brings new talent to the business and saves upon time and expense in training. Some of the basics they just “get” and this can be invaluable.
Successfully juggling the demands of a small human alongside everyday life and work requires the organisation ability of a military commander. Ability to prioritise, manage time effectively and plan for any eventuality are daily musts for a mother so any company would benefit hugely from these skills which are not always found in every new recruit.
With a bigger point to prove, the excitement of adult interaction and a day away from Peppa Pig, part-time mothers can display higher levels of motivation. What’s more, there is nothing like the desire to provide the best life possible for your offspring to get you out of bed in the morning and do the best you possibly can – as well as proving the doubters wrong!
Research shows that working mums are generally happier in their work – see point 3 for some of the reasons. Joking aside, it is demanding on a different level being at home with children so many people find themselves looking forward to work every day!
Finally, as opposed to being a drain on resources, research also shows that these individuals are more productive than full time employees. Anecdotally, many of my “mummy friends” recount how they squeeze 5 days of work into 3 days. In addition, around the time of the UK Olympics, many employers offered flexible and remote working and a survey carried out by the Institute of Leadership and Management following this period showed that this actually increased morale and productivity increase.