New research by global workplace provider Regus has revealed that only 13% of businesses in Swindon are planning to hire more returning mothers than they did a year ago. This is despite the fact that they are seen to bring a wide range of benefits to the workplace, according to a survey of local business owners and senior managers.
Returning mothers play an important role in the overall economy by contributing to boosting GDP through increased female participation in the labour force. But the contrasting demands of motherhood and work are one of the main reasons women don’t return to work. To combat this phenomenon, respondents emphasised the important role flexible working can play in attracting female talent; in fact, 83% believe that flexible working is key to attracting and retaining women workers.
The research highlights a variety of positive attributes that employers believe mothers bring to the workplace. These include their experience and skill-set, reliability and excellent time management. Additionally, returning mothers are seen as less likely to change jobs, saving firms the cost of recruitment and re-training.
Other benefits of hiring working mothers identified by the research include:
-Returning mothers are valued for their experience and skills according to 70% of respondents and are seen as more organised (53%) than other staff.
-Returning mothers were also reported to be very hardworking (20%) and to be more caring workers (27%)
-Professionals also value working mothers’ drive to prove their worth (17%)
Commenting on the research, Celia Donne, Global Operations Director at Regus said: “There is a vast amount of untapped potential among skilled and experienced mothers who are unable to work due to family commitments. Flexible working enables companies to tap into this important talent supply and offer returning mothers a way back into the workforce. The benefits to businesses are clear; not least, lower staff turnover and associated hiring and training costs. But in order to retain these valuable employees it is critical that firms offer some level of flexible working, such as the possibility to work closer to home.
“With reports suggesting that if the number of women in the workforce reached the same as that of men national GDP growth could be up to 10% higher, the case for increasing flexible working is very strong. Add to that the value placed on returning mothers and it is evident that businesses need to reassess their use of flexible working to attract top female talent.”
Sources  Booz & Co, Empowering the Third Billion Women and the World of Work in 2012, 2013
Pictured above: Celia Donne, Global Operations Director at Regus