Sydney,
28
March
2014
|
01:24
Australia/Sydney

Mum power

Flexible working key to keeping valuable returning mums in the workforce

A truly equal world would be one where women ran half our countries and companies and men ran half our homes,” writes Sheryl Sandberg in her book, Lean In. Latest research by Regus, the global workplace provider, confirms that mind-sets are rapidly changing as 89% of Australian businesses report that the companies who will not employ women returning from maternity leave are in fact missing out.

Far from returning with an obsolete address book and a rusty memory, working mums bring valuable skills and expertise, say 73% of Australian businesses. These are the key findings of the latest research by Regus that canvassed the opinions of more than 19,000 business owners and senior managers in 98 countries.

Respondents reported that flexible hours, working closer to home, part-time roles and the option to video conference instead of travelling at least some of the time are among the top strategies to get more mothers back into the workforce.

Key findings show that:

  • 63% of Australian respondents report that more women are demanding to work remotely when they return to the workforce;
  • Perhaps due to increasing financial pressures, 38% of those surveyed say they are seeing women take shorter maternity leave (under 3 months);
  • 43% say working closer to home is a key incentive;
  • 93% report that working flexible hours would help returning mothers.

Interestingly more small businesses are planning on hiring working mums, compared to large firms – with 52% of small firms (less than 49 employees) reporting this, compared to 43% of large firms (more than 250 employees). Smaller companies also value working mums more: 74% said they value returning mothers because they offer skills and experience which are difficult to find in the current market. Whereas 66% of large firms agreed with this.

With reports highlighting that the non-participation of women in the economy is costing as much as 27% per capita GDP in some countries,[1] and that companies with more women on the board are more profitable, [2] Meghann Ashby from Regus says it high time that Australian companies address the issue of how to adapt business practices to better suit working mothers.

“Businesses need to embrace mothers returning to work – the evidence is clear that they bring key skills to the workplace,” she said “One way to do this is to provide flexible methods of working -  it is really not surprising, that more and more mums are asking for flexible working.

Whether it’s flexible-hours, the opportunity to work closer to home or to their families at least some of the time, or the option to choose video conferencing over business travel, these changes incentives are key to helping more women back into employment and driving the workplace into the future.”

In regards to city comparisons, Sydney was overall the strongest market for returning mothers:

Regus Research

Sydney

Melbourne

Brisbane

Perth

Adelaide

We anticipate hiring more mothers returning to work in the next two years

55%

52%

52%

35%

42%

We value returning mothers because they offer skills and experience which are difficult to find in the current market

78%

72%

73%

77%

67%

We are seeing more women asking to work remotely after maternity leave

70%

56%

60%

65%

67%

We are seeing more women asking to return to work part-time after maternity leave

86%

77%

86%

87%

85%

I believe that companies that ignore returning mothers are missing out on a significant and valuable part of the employment pool

92%

93%

87%

81%

91%

Companies that actively hire returning mothers are more likely to be successful

58%

53%

60%

35%

61%

 


[1] IMF, Women, Work and the Economy, September 2013

[2] The Financial Times, Research shows profitable companies have more women on the board, 25th July 2013

Boilerplate

Regus is the global workplace provider.

Its network of more than 1,700 business centres in 100 countries provides convenient, high-quality, fully serviced spaces for people to work, whether for a few minutes or a few years. Companies like Google, Toshiba and GlaxoSmithKline choose Regus so that they can work flexibly and make their businesses more successful.

The key to flexible working is convenience and so Regus is opening wherever its 1.5million members want support - city centres, suburban districts, shopping centres and retail outlets, railway stations,

motorway service stations and even community centres.

Founded in Brussels, Belgium, in 1989, Regus is based in Luxembourg and listed on the London Stock Exchange. For more information, please visit: www.regus.com