‘Women feel disadvantaged on return from career breaks’

Mobile phone, flexible working


Over half of women who take a career break feel disadvantaged when they return, according to a survey which looks at what employers could do to help new mothers back to work.

Recruitment consultancy Robert Walters surveyed over 1,000 women working in professional disciplines on their attitudes towards career breaks, the support employers offer professionals returning to work and what they value in terms of career development. Some 48% of those surveyed had taken a career break and 52% had not.

The survey found 74% of women plan to return to the same employer following a career break, but only 24% do. Women were keen to have more support from their employers on return to work. Some 84% of professionals want the option to work from home, but less than half of employers offer it; 79% of women would consider a mentor helpful when returning to work, but only 8% are offered one; 89% of women want structured training on legal or regulatory changes on their return to work, but only 22% of employers offer this.

The report says finding an employer with a good reputation for positive workplace policies is important to women and recommends that employers wanting to attract and retain women must be open to flexible working practices, particularly for those returning from a career break. It says simple contact strategies maintained by employers can help retain women on a career break.

Lucy Bisset, Associate Director at Robert Walters, said: ““Businesses are missing a valuable opportunity by failing to capitalise on the intention among their employees to return to the same employer after a career break. Maintaining email contact with employees during their time away and inviting them to visit the office should form part of your strategy, in addition to encouraging colleagues to maintain personal relationships by inviting the individual taking a career break to attend company social events as well.”

For the full report, click here.

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