Companies that fail to hire mothers re-entering the workplace are allowing their organisation to be robbed of efficient, quality employees, possessing an invaluable experience.
Being a mother will teach you things that no degree ever will. Your negotiation skills need to be impeccable. You need to be able to keep track of multiple events taking place simultaneously. Then there’s the financial management that comes with balancing your family’s needs against your single income. Unfortunately, some companies see being a mother as a CV killer in today’s competitive job market.
A study conducted by the Federal Bank of St Louis found that over the course of a 30-year career, mothers outperformed women without children at almost every stage of the game. In fact, mothers with at least two kids were the most productive of all.
Understandably, hiring managers may feel that the employment gap has made mothers old-fashioned in the industry or that these women will have difficulty balancing responsibilities at home and with their current workload. But companies need to be more open-minded about this because often these women are more skilled now than when they left the workplace. Plus, they often showcase more commitment towards the job than their colleagues.
The maternal wall, which is the motherhood equivalent of the “glass ceiling” reinforces discrimination against women and is based on archaic stereotypes.
But companies can be rigid about their hiring processes.
Mothers re-entering the workplace must also be proactive and not simply rely on the good nature of hiring managers. An easy approach of bypassing the employment gap on your CV would be to use a skills-based resume layout as opposed to a chronological one.
Candidates can also look at the skills prospective employers are requiring and be strategic about highlighting what they have. If there are discrepancies, aspirants can take accredited short courses to bridge the gap. Applicants should also sharpen their focus to companies where they will be seen as an asset, not where they will spend most of their time apologising for being a mother.
Companies that offer mothers the opportunity to share their skills with the organisation should also be cognisant of their employees’ needs.
I’m not saying that companies should go out of their way to accommodate their employees, I am saying they should be more flexible with everyone and manage/measure performance by results and not how much “face time” employees put in. All organisations should be willing to embrace policies that support families.
Organisations should be encouraging towards working mothers instead of shunning them for having children.
Knowledge doesn’t have an expiry date, and at HR Company Solutions, we believe that women remain clued up on industry-related topics, even after they leave the workplace. Employers should be inspiring women to be both great mums and career women. They should be implementing enhanced worthwhile opportunities and creating appreciated benefits for moms in the workplace, because these women through the experience of motherhood have acquired skills that no conventional CV reflects.
• Madelein Smit is managing director at HR Company Solutions.