We are living in extraordinary times with stunning changes in social organisation. More new mothers are returning to the workforce than ever before. The number of working mothers in the UK has risen by a million in 20 years. Almost three-quarters of women with children are in full- or part-time work. Unsurprisingly, there is huge talent and therefore opportunity, sitting within this ever-growing pool of working mothers.
In coaching women before, during and after mat leave, we keep hearing the same story: woman is excelling in her career, woman leaves to have baby, woman comes back needing some time to transition, woman feels blocked and unsupported, woman leaves for new organisation with better #flexappeal, gender equality, lower (or no) gender pay gap and a more open-minded and exciting company culture.
We know how much time and money organisations already invest in their top people, so it’s no surprise that employers are increasingly looking at new ways to avoid losing some of their best employees over a short-term slow-down when they have children.
Encouragingly, some of the more innovative companies are beginning to think long-term about how best to support and encourage women’s efforts, so the businesses themselves can build the successful, diverse, inspired workforces they will need for the future.
Colin Passmore, Managing Partner, Simmons & Simmons
We take the view that every single one of our lawyers has been the recipient of a massive amount of investment, whether that is paying their course fees or training over the years. It is just ludicrous not to support them when they come back. We would only have to then go out to a headhunter and pay a fee to replace them, it is these mothers we are really looking for to progress and become the partners of the future
From project 28-40 report, Opportunity Now
As part of our research for the Juggling Act, we ran a survey asking working mothers some of the all-important questions about their experiences of pregnancy, maternity leave and returning to work. From over one hundred respondents certain themes came up time and again; women want support from employers in balancing work-home responsibilities; they are keen to work hard, and are often highly ambitious, but want to be measured for outputs of fully-scoped roles rather than bum-in-seat hours.
Our intensive coaching programme supports women in improving their own prospects, creating opportunities and strategically planning their careers. Those who go through the coaching and group work programme will come out:
- In the right head space, with a plan of how to transition – and then excel – back in their organisation
- Having had time to think and re-orientate themselves around the world of work
- With a new perspective on the potential collaboration between them and their employer to make a true success of going back
The Juggling Act leadership programme is about making the world of work more successful and fulfilling for everyone, employers and employees, women and men, for generations to come.