Working mothers need more flexibility



Over 95 of workers believe women need greater flexibility with hours and location in order to return to work, new research has revealed.

News | Women in business

By Gina Baldassarre

Over 95 of workers believe women need greater flexibility with hours and location in order to return to work, new research has revealed.

The research, conducted by Regus, surveyed over 26 000 business people around the world about attitudes towards working mothers.

“There is a strong case for the greater inclusion of returning mothers in the workforce, and this issue urgently needs to be addressed,” says Jacqueline Lehmann, country head of Regus Australia.

This research comes after a recent ABS report showed there are over a quarter of a million Australians looking after children who are actively looking for work, with 94 percent of them mothers.

With almost 60 percent of business respondents also saying that hiring returning mothers helps improve productivity within business, what are Australian companies missing out on?

“In Australia, estimates show GDP could increase by 13 percent, or $180 billion, if male and female participation rates were matched. The economy could benefit from sustained growth and it would help bridge the skills gap across genders,” says Lehmann.

However, despite the value working mothers add to the workforce, there’s still much that can be done to make the transition back to the office easier.

“Women come across obstacles to balancing childcare with work-life, and as a result the workforce continues to lose able and trained workers with key skills and qualifications,” says Lehmann.

As well as more flexibility, over 80 percent of respondents believe mothers need crèche facilities near their workplace, while flexibility to choose video conferencing over travel also a key factor in encouraging more women to return to work.

Above all, the research showed that changes to workplace habits are desired over more rest days, with just 49 percent of respondents indicating more vacation days would encourage more women to return to the workforce.

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