Looking back to the 1980’s when I was growing up there were set roles within a family. Once children were born the mums took a back seat in their career and took on the new role as housewife/full time care giver to the children while the dads continued with their career journey.
My parents generation (born in the late 50’s) were the first to start breaking this tradition, my mum started to work nights to bring in a second income while still being there in the day for the children. She was a very skilled nurse who before children got to a senior ward position being responsible for the care of entire wards. She was lucky that that skill set and career allowed her to work post children.
My mums generation was a turning point for working mums but there are still hurdles in our way now 30 years later!
Childcare costs for 2 children – At its peak I was paying £500 a month for nursery and £100 a month for after school club. Then there are holiday clubs to pay for during xmas, Easter, summer and 2 half term weeks (that there is a untapped gold mine in itself for businesses that could provide school holiday childcare).
Part Time positions – these are very rare especially if you want to work in a specific industry. I have degree educated friends with 18 years working experience who since having children are struggling to get back to work in a part time position suited to their working knowledge.
Flexible working hours – some firms are stuck in this 9-5 regime. Stuck in an office clocking in clocking out!
A different approach
So how can employers reduce or even remove these hurdles so they can gain access to this pool of workers with years of experience, talent, ideas, knowledge and more?
Firstly look at the hours you offer – Could the role you want to fill start that little bit later (say 9:30) so school/ nursery problems do not get in the way of employment.
Could the role finish earlier for school pick up times (say 2:30/3:00) is there a reason you need someone there 9-5?
If the right person could get the work done in less hours would you consider them?
Could the role be job shared between 2 people from this pool of talent rather then having to completely train someone new to the world of work?
How much time could be saved by getting someone who can hit the ground running with flexible hours vs someone who can work any hours, but will need guidance for months taking up your time to work on your business?
Helping with childcare costs would also be a huge pull for this pool of talent. Do you offer childcare vouchers as part of your pay scheme? Could you offer an onsite nursery? (ok that is quite far fetched but if it could mean you had the best talent in your industry at your fingertips is it something you could consider).
As a part time working mum to 2 little boys I feel very grateful I get to work in a job I love where I can demonstrate everything i can bring to a company. My 18 years of work experience is not going to waste by being replaced by a fresh out of uni graduate who can work all hours needed but having to have help all the way through as they learn.
This is not a rant against hiring the fresh out of uni graduates (why, I was one many years ago!) But it is just to say in this century where we can plug in to work anywhere and at any time I think its worth being flexible and forward thinking, allowing yourself access to the pool of talent that lies on the other side of maternity leave.
Thank you for reading (and hopefully changing the way you hire)