70% women worry over career-breaks

The findings from a new survey carried out by London Business School (LBS) and reported in the Guardian 27/5/2016 said that women are anxious about the consequences of taking time out from their career for maternity leave or even travel.

2000 women responded to a survey carried out at the recent Women in Business Conference and the analysis by LBS strategy review team demonstrates a real concern about the consequences of a break from work. Whilst this survey focused on women it would probably find the same fears from anyone taking time off for domestic reasons.

In 2015 research carried out by the Labour Party suggested that perhaps as many as 50,000 women had been forced out of the workplace after taking time out for maternity leave. A very scary and appalling statistic!

Although this is a very alarming figure it is worth considering what this might tell us about the working world some women are living in and about returning to work after a domestic break.

Many writing on this subject suggest that we underestimate the hit that a new mum’s confidence takes when she tries to merge the role of mum at the same time as reintegrating back into the workplace.  The juggling act can be extremely stressful and all a bit too much especially if her colleagues “treat her like she is compromised in some way” (Selena Rezvani, author and broadcaster, 25/3/2014).

Often, and for obvious reasons, this can be a time when women decide to change their working pattern and their career path to something that is more home and work friendly and for many this works perfectly.

For the women who decide to be ‘stay at home’ mums for a bit this can pose a new set of issues and raises the questions over the right time to return to work and how to go about doing so. If confidence has dipped after a maternity break it has dipped even further after a number of years at home.

There is good funding in place for young people returning to work which is wholly welcome however very little for women trying to get back into work. This seems shortsighted because there clearly exists a huge pool of highly skilled women out there looking for help returning to work and with many working years in which to contribute to business development and to the workplace in general. Let’s help women return to worthwhile careers which help them fulfil their potential and contribute to the wealth of Scotland.

 

Theresa Pedreschi

May 2016