New career opportunities for working mums

If you’ve been made redundant and are looking to find a new job and one which gives you some sort of work life balance, what can you do? provides some advice.

career progression for women and flexible working

Sharing ideas about and approaches to all aspects of career progression for women and flexible working

If you’ve been made redundant and are looking to find a new job and one which gives you some sort of work life balance, what can you do?

Now may not appear to be the best time to be asking for flexibility in a new job, but you may find that companies which are cutting back may be willing to consider a slightly shorter working week or some element of homeworking if a good business case can be made.

Most companies which are progressive on flexible working emphasise the business case for it and how important it is for staff who are requesting flexible working to argue why it is in everyone’s interests to accept their request.

While legally employees cannot request flexible working until they have been in a new job for six months, companies may be open to some form of flexibility in new jobs if it can be demonstrated that it is in their interest.

Do your research before you apply for jobs and check out your target employer’s policy on flexible working. Ask around too about whether their policy is more than a paper promise.

Check out websites like which offer family friendly jobs.

Remember too that many job opportunities are not advertised. Linda Whittern,’s careers expert and director of Careers Partnership, says most people don’t put anywhere near the amount they should into networking activities and adds that this is particularly effective for part-time jobs.

“You should tell friends, family and anyone else what kind of job you’re looking for and ask them to watch out for any snippet of information that could help you like details of a new business starting up on the industrial estate,” she says.

“Go onto the websites of the businesses in your locality and see whether they’ve anything to offer.  Track down those recruitment agencies and job sites advertising part-time posts and try to develop a personal rapport with the staff – you want to be remembered when a sniff of a good job comes up.”

A creative approach

It is also important to be creative and proactive. Take this as a chance to reassess your life and what you want from your job. Perhaps you have skills that can be transferred into a job which you might find more fulfilling.

According to careers expert John Lees hard times can open up new possibilities if you know what motivates you and are proactive in trying to get it. This may involve taking risks and thinking out of the box.

Another option is setting up your own business. Every recession sees a rise in self-employment, says Lees. Given a good redundancy payment, many people consider investing it in their future and doing something they feel more control over and more passionate about.

Setting up your own business is hard work and risky, but there is a lot of support available at the moment as increased efforts are put into boosting small businesses as the engine for growth.

Emma Jones, founder of home business support organisation, is co-founder of Start-Up Britain, a business initiative, run by small business owners, with support from the government.

She says: “We don’t deliver hands-on and practical support, as there are many quality companies already doing that, but we do point you in the direction you will find this support. The campaign shines a spotlight on the awards, events and resources you can access. But you can also apply to be mentored (for free) by successful entrepreneurs as part of the campaign.”

One way of reducing the risk of self-employment is to take out a franchise. You pay for the franchise but get a tried and tested business model and support and advice on setting up your business.

There are a huge range of franchises on offer, in all price ranges. They include everything from teaching IT to nursery children to starting a plumbing business.’s Franchise directory has a full array of options and information on working as a franchisee.

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