Almost three-quarters of Australian businesses said that working mothers bring valuable skills and expertise to the workplace, while 89% believed that companies that do not employ women returning from maternity leave are missing out, according to research from global workplace provider Regus (2014). In this post, we look at working mothers and how businesses today can attract and retain these special recruits. In our opinion we need talented and skilful women working in organisations and moving into the leadership ranks!!
WORKING MOTHERS IN AUSTRALIA
One of the very significant changes that has occurred within Australian families over recent decades has been the considerable growth in maternal employment. This sustained growth is apparent across the last 30 years of Census data, which are collected every five years (AIFS, 2013).
According to News.com.au (2011) Australian working mums are among the best in the world when it comes to spending time with their kids. In the international study, Aussie mums ranked second after Ireland of the 21 developed countries examined.
MOTHERS IN GENERAL
Research shows that working mums bring benefits to their families and society in general. A 2012 US study found that women who return to full-time work shortly after starting a family often have better mental and physical health than those who stay home.
The researchers from the University of Akron and Penn State University discovered that women who juggled career and family life reported higher levels of energy and mobility and were less likely to encounter periods of depression.
In a 2010 Australian study, conducted by the University of New England and the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, found that the children of part-time working mums are less likely to be overweight, watch less TV, eat less junk food and are more physically active than children whose mothers work full time (more than 34 hours a week) or are stay-at-home mums.
ATTRACTING AND RETAINING WORKING MOTHERS
A work-life-family balance is highly valued by most workers and employers now realise they need to offer flexible arrangements such as reduced hours, flexi-time or telework (working from home) at times.
Regus (2014) conducted a survey on working mothers and found that 93% of businesses said that flexible working hours would help returning mothers, 63% reported that more women wanted to work remotely when returning to the workforce, and 43% said working closer to home was a key factor for returning mums.
“Whether it’s flexible hours, the opportunity to work closer to home or to their families at least some of the time, or the option to choose video conferencing over business travel, these changes incentives are key to helping more women back into employment and driving the workplace into the future”, says Meghan Ashby from Regus.
Workplace flexibility is not just in the interest of employers, but also in the interests of employees as part of a dialogue and undoubtedly contributes to the productivity of individual enterprises.
What workplace strategies do you see as being most important for working mothers?