Karen O’Reilly*, the founder of Employmum, says employers should adopt a flexible and part-time working environment for people, with children, returning to work.
80% of the candidates who register with us have a degree qualification or higher. They have worked on their careers for an average of 12.5 years. They have then taken time out or a step sideways in their career, usually to raise their children, obtain some work-life balance or, because when they did the sums, it didn’t make sense. To commute for two hours a day, pay a childminder, juggle all the logistics – you know the story.
Anyway, these well educated, experienced and qualified women are now ‘out the other side’ – they’re in their 40s, the kids are in school or cared for from nine to four. Mummy is no longer needed between these hours and here are the reasons why you should hire them.
1: They really (really) want to work
“They have kids going to school, they have a mortgage – they are not going to leave you when someone else offers them €2,000 more in another job.”
2: They don’t want a welcome pack and a special chair when they start a job. They don’t need to feel warm and fuzzy and be patted on the back every five minutes. They don’t have the ‘gimme gimme gimme’ mentality. They are not spoilt, or spoon fed and have survived through boom and bust. What they are hungry for is work.
3: You won’t have to babysit them. Enough said.
4: They aren’t going to leave on a whim. A returner is usually pretty rooted to where they are – they have kids going to school, they have a mortgage – they are not going to leave you when someone else offers them €2,000 more in another job. They are not going to go traveling around Australia. You provide flexibility, and they remain loyal to the business.
5: They want to prove themselves again. Many women [and men] returning to the workforce, even though they are more than qualified to do the job at hand may be suffering from low confidence. They will go the extra mile to prove themselves. Also, returners, if given a chance, will regain their confidence very quickly in a challenging position.
6: They can do pretty much everything. Multitasking and organisation skills – need I say more?
7: Negotiation skills. What a mum has learned in this area if she has survived terrible twos and threes and fours is immeasurable.
“They are not spoilt, or spoon fed and have survived through boom and bust. What they are hungry for is work.”
Being flexible can bring huge rewards
An employer offering flexibility will get so much back in return. But don’t take my word for it.
‘The competition to hire the best will increase in the years ahead. Companies that give extra flexibility to their employees will have the edge in this area.’ – Bill Gates
About the author
Karen O’Reilly runs Employmum, a flexible recruitment agency for professional parents. It matches employers with flexible roles to professional candidates seeking flexibility in the workplace and part-time work.