Many working mothers – over four in five – who left the workforce during the pandemic now want to return back to the office.
New research from TopCV reveals that 85 per cent of working mothers whose jobs were adversely affected during the pandemic are now looking to rejoin the workforce.
This comes after previous research showed that almost two-thirds of mothers either stopped working (40 per cent) or reduced their hours (19 per cent) since the beginning of the pandemic.
Of the working mothers who are not currently working, three-fifths (60 per cent) said that they were fired during the pandemic and are still looking for a new job.
Almost a third (30 per cent) said they chose to quit as it would not make financial sense to pay someone to look after their children (15 per cent). A further 15 per cent chose to leave their role to make their child’s education a priority.
As such, the COVID-19 pandemic has meant that priorities have drastically changed for these workers, with many looking for greater flexibility in light of childcare responsibilities.
Traditionally, salary and bonus and career progression were found to be the main two priorities for this demographic.
However, since then, a flexible schedule and a company culture have overtaken these as the most important factors when looking for a new role.
Amanda Augustine, careers expert at TopCV, commented:
It’s clear that many working women have discovered during the pandemic that in order to be a good worker and a good mother, they require more flexibility from employers. A flexible working schedule can mean different things to different individuals.
Some may wish to work remotely on a part-time or full-time basis, while others may be more interested in modifying their work day’s start and end times or having the freedom to pop out of the office or go offline, when necessary, to take their son to the doctor or attend their daughter’s recital without fearing repercussions.
Employers who offer various flexible work arrangements will not only attract a more gender-diverse candidate pool, but they’ll also show their current employees who are working parents that they understand – and care – about their needs.
This view was also echoed by Tulip Siddiq, the MP who brought forward the flexible working bill, who discussed the impact that the pandemic has had on working mothers.
During her speech, Ms. Siddiq cited information from charity Pregnant then Screwed, aiming to support pregnant women and mothers in the workplace.
The company reported that, between March 2020 and 2021, the number of phone calls made to them from working mothers who were facing flexible working issues had doubled.
Ms. Siddiq said:
In this country the childcare responsibilities…do largely fall on women and the statistics show that if women can flexibly work and go back to their jobs, they’re more likely to not quit their jobs after they’ve had a child and to go back to their careers.
The statistics show that men can flexibly work as well, women are twice as likely to excel in the career that they’re pursuing, if they have their husbands helping them with childcare responsibility and looking after children.
*Between 8 March and 20 April 2021, TopCV surveyed 1,017 UK professionals to find out how the pandemic had affected their roles as workers and parents.
Monica Sharma is an English Literature graduate from the University of Warwick. As Editor for HRreview, her particular interests in HR include issues concerning diversity, employment law and wellbeing in the workplace. Alongside this, she has written for student publications in both England and Canada. Monica has also presented her academic work concerning the relationship between legal systems, sexual harassment and racism at a university conference at the University of Western Ontario, Canada.