Regus,
07
March
2013
|
00:00
Australia/Sydney

Keeping mum in work

Sydney – March 2013 – Global workplace provider Regus is releasing new research looking at how Australia can increase the amount of women, mothers in particular, participating in the workforce.

The research shows that top practices which encourage women to return to work after maternity leave, are greater flexibility in terms of hours (97%) and location (93%). This was followed by near-site crèche facilities (83%), increased use of video-conferencing technology (78%) and more job-sharing (73%).

Country Head of Regus Australia, Jacqueline Lehmann, said: “There is a strong case for the greater inclusion of returning mothers in the workforce and this issue urgently needs to be addressed. In Australia, estimates show GDP could increase by 13% or $180 billion if male and female participation rates were matched[1]. The economy could benefit from sustained growth and it would help bridge the skills gap across genders.”

Not only are returning mothers key to economic development, but respondents reported that hiring returning mothers helps improve productivity (59%) within businesses.

Ms Lehmann commented: “Even on a business level the benefits for more working mums is clear, with companies having access to skilled and trained workers, reduced staff turnover, and as this survey reveals, increased productivity. However, despite these advantages, 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.”

Interestingly, only 49% said that more vacation days would help women get back to work after maternity. This highlights that radical changes to workplace habits are actually what is desired, rather than additional days of rest.

Key Findings

Global average

Australia

Flexible working hours some or all the time are critical to encouraging more women to return to work after maternity leave

93%

97%

The option to work closer to home at least some of the time is critical to encouraging more women to return to work after maternity leave

92%

93%

Near-site crèche facilities are critical to encouraging more women to return to work after maternity leave

85%

83%

Flexibility to choose video conferencing over travel at least some of the time is critical to encouraging more women to return to work after maternity leave

79%

78%

More vacation days are critical to encouraging more women to return to work after maternity leave

50%

49%

Job sharing is critical to encouraging more women to return to work

65%

73%

I believe that firms would be more productive if they hired more women returning to work after maternity leave

57%

59%

The data confirms previous Regus research which revealed that 63% of businesses in Australia value part-time returning mothers because they offer skills and experience that are difficult to find in the current market. Additionally, 77% believe that companies that ignore part-time returning mothers are missing out on a significant and valuable part of the employment pool.[2]

-ENDS-

[1] Goldman-Sachs Economic Research, Weekly comment: Productivity, Much ado about nothing, August 2011

[2] Regus, Mother’s Day, January 2011