According to a 2016 study by PwC, 3 in 5 professional women are forced to take a lower skilled and lower paid job on returning to work after a career break. This trend is creating a £1.7bn hole in the economy.
More often than not it is women and not men that take the full burden of family caring, be it for children or elderly relatives, which then affects their future career prospects and pay potential. This trend becomes self-perpetuating because households will typically sacrifice the lowest paid worker when allocating care responsibilities.
Gaps in employment will diminish a long-term carer’s employment prospects and dent their chances of returning to work at a level that can ever meet their partner’s. A mother or carer returning to work is often faced with:
- A lack of qualifications, skills and CPD
- A lack of relevant working experience
- A lack of flexible options that suit parenting needs
- A lack of confidence
Progressive recruitment starts at a local level
Finding local and flexible work is crucial to the successful journey back into employment, as commuting long distances is very often too prohibitive to achieve a realistic and healthy work-family balance.
Women need to find local employers who are flexible and progressive in their outlook on employing women returning to work, and who can see past the CV gaps.
Westbury opens the door for work-returners
Westbury is a Silver Accredited Investor in People and we recognise our importance as a local employer in the South East of Essex and our role in getting local mothers back into work.
Progressive recruitment policy
In our latest wave of recruitment, we’ve tried to attract parent returners, by offering a greater level of flexibility in terms of working hours and looking at applicants’ actual working history and not the gaps.
By offering several part-time roles and job shares and by giving women the chance to come in after the morning school run, we noticed that we were getting a significantly wider pool of local talent, largely as a result of local mothers seizing the opportunity to work these roles around their childcare.
Giving women and particularly local mothers returning to work the opportunity to re-establish themselves in a professional capacity is now a priority for the company.
Mothers returning to work are a vastly untapped resource with professional experience and skills that are not being used. We also recognise that mothers are learning on the job, acquiring new skills in time management and multi-tasking as a direct result of looking after their children.
We welcome the opportunity to give work-returners the time, patience and support required to build their confidence, so that they can pick up where they left off or turn their hand to new roles.
A strategy for the future
With Westbury doubling its output over the last five years and with significant growth projections forecast for the next 5 years, we think that this strategy is really paying off, and would urge other employers to ensure they are making the right changes in order to fully utilise the skills of their local workforce.