Mums look to retrain to find more meaningful jobs

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Over a third of working mums have retrained after having children and many more are considering it, with the top reason given that their values have changed and they want a more meaningful job, according to a survey.

The survey of nearly 2,000 mums found education and health were the main sectors women were looking to retrain into, with helping others, term-time working and job satisfaction being big draws, although a significant number currently working in the education sector were also looking to retrain.

Although the top reason given for retraining was changed values [35%], other popular reasons were that respondents were looking for a career change [28%] or were fed up with their job [27%]. Long hours, inflexible working in their current job and lack of career progression were also mentioned.

The most popular time for seeking retraining was when respondents’ children had started school – a quarter said this was what prompted them to retrain. Other reasons included marital breakdown, redundancy and pregnancy.

Respondents had researched their training options mainly via search engine. The majority retrained in the classroom [56%], although around a quarter had done online courses. Several had mixed different training options. A third had paid nothing to retrain and some had done their retraining in house, but 60% of those who paid spent over £500. Most of those who retrained spent up to seven hours a week on retraining. Most were very happy with the retraining they received.

Of those who had not retrained yet, 81% were considering it. Most were looking for flexibility [52%], working from home [45%] or higher earnings [39%].

Online was the favourite form of retraining chosen by 65% and most wanted to devote no more than seven hours a week to retraining. Most wouldn’t pay more than £500, with a third willing to pay between £100 and £500.

The survey was prompted by findings in’s latest annual survey which showed 65% of respondents were interested in retraining and almost a third had retrained in the last year.

Gillian Nissim, founder of, said: “We have consistently been struck by the high numbers of mums who are looking to retrain after having children. It is interesting to note the reasons. Flexibility is high, but the top reason given is that mums want a more meaningful job. Hence the popularity of sectors such as education and health. They are also seeking career progression and change. Parenthood is a time of great change and triggers a lot of careful reflection. Employers would do well to nurture those employees who are going through similar transition periods.”

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