This is the time when women typically start their families. According to the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT, October 2014) 67% of women surveyed are worried about the impact having children will have on their career. Nearly half of the 2,000 UK women polled consider that their current employment doesn't offer them the flexibility they would need to care for a family TWEET THIS. This is worrying - if a return to work after maternity leave is perceived to be difficult and incompatible with continuing career fulfilment and progression, women won't return. Indeed the AAT survey reports that balancing childcare and work commitments is cited as the main barrier to staying in employment for new mums. Nearly a quarter of new mums surveyed (24%) changed jobs after the birth of their babies and 67% considered retraining to another job entirely as a means of having greater flexibility at work. In more junior roles the picture is similar; after the birth of their babies women in such roles are significantly more likely to take less demanding part-time roles than return to their previous jobs.
For the many women who are not freely choosing to stay at home or to return to part-time work, this represents a frustrating dilemma - to be fulfilled and successful professionally or fulfilled personally - but not both. If organisations are serious about retaining talented women, at all levels, there must be changes in the way they support women to return to work after maternity. Implementing active steps to make it easy to return, for example in providing flexible hours, nursery provision, return to work bonuses and maternity coaching all play an important role.
We'd love to hear about your experiences - good or bad - either as an employer or as a parent.
For further details on our maternity coaching programmes and how we can help your organisation retain its valued women employees, check out our programmes, or phone or email us.