Retraining for greater flexibility

Difficulty in finding a flexible job in their sector is the main reason that working mums are seeking retraining, according to a Workingmums.co.uk poll.

The poll of over 160 women found some 61% were seeking retraining due to difficulty finding a flexible job in their sector. Some 17% found it difficult to get a job in their sector at all. Eleven per cent were seeking retraining because their previous job involved a lot of travel which they did not want to or were unable to do now that they had children. The rest cited other reasons.

The survey comes on the back of Workingmums.co.uk‘s annual survey results which show a huge demand for retraining among women. It found some 60% of mums said they were interested in retraining and 51% had retrained in the last three years. The number who had retrained in the last year [27%] was up 4% on last year.

Many of those who responded to the poll said they were having trouble finding a job after taking a career break.  One said: “I left work to have my daughter 12 years ago. At the time I was a Business Development Manager earning a very good salary. Two years ago I returned to work and initially started back doing temping work for a minimum wage. Trying to get past the young women recruiters was a nightmare, who would look at my CV and say my experience was too old. I eventually found a part-time job as an administrator at a low salary with a company who then went on to utilise my experience to its benefit – but were not interested in paying me a salary appropriate to the level of work they were asking me to undertake. After two years I have left them and have done some freelance work. The frustration comes when you see adverts requesting “experience and mature attitude required”, but then you apply and are told your experience is “too old”! Reports suggest that the youth have difficulty getting into employment, but as return to work mums – this is equally as hard.”

Another commented: “I am from India with seven years of work experience in corporate investment. I moved to the UK with my husband and took a break for one year because my child was not eligible for school then….it’s been 6 months that I have been looking for a break…”

Another mother said: “I have been at home looking after my daughter for 13 years. I have a degree, but I haven’t worked in anything other than admin jobs. Now I’m looking for a career, but in common with many people cannot find a job. I am considering retraining as I think that it will allow me to find not only a job, but a career as well. I’m not even getting an interview after applying for jobs. This is due partly to the number of people applying for jobs who have current and relevant experience, and party due to my lack of experience of anything other than admin.”

Others found themselves in jobs they considered to be a dead end which sapped their confidence, including a single mum who had worked in security for 11 years. She said: “Now that I am on jobseekers and I feel as if I shouldn’t be getting it and feel as if people tar you all with the same brush. The looks you get are bad. I am applying for jobs nearly every day. Hopefully I’ll get one soon as I am so independent and used to having money. We all deserve a chance and to prove to some people that single mums/ dads are hard working and don’t scrounge off people.”

Another said: “I am looking to retrain because I want to better myself and to start to build my confidence and self esteem back up. I need a change of career as I need new challenges and to see how far I can push myself. I also think I have still got a lot to give.”

Career coach has some tips for mums seeking to find a job after a career break. Click here.




Comments [2]

  • Nicole Reilly says:

    I think you've hit the nail on the head when you talk about narrow-minded recruiters; I'm fed up repeatedly having to justify my desire for something part time and local now I'm a mum, rather than continuing in the London corporate treadmill. That's not living, but sadly most High
    Street recruiters are too inexperienced to understand and too focused on closing the sale and getting their commission.

  • Anonymous says:

    Very true. So where is the link to something helpful on where Mums who have taken a career break can get help to retrain? This article states the obvious and there will be many of us identifying with this so what next? I've tried all sorts still to no avail and have extensive corporate experience. Completely fed up.

    Editor: There are quite a lot of articles on Workingmums.co.uk about retraining and getting back to work after a career break [see this one] and lots of profiles of women who have taken career breaks, saying how they got back into work, for instance, this one. Just search the site. There's also a link at the bottom of the story.


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