Why We Need More Mums in Business
If women’s skills, qualifications and experience were put to better use in the UK labour market it is estimated that the economy would benefit by up to a staggering 10% of GDP by 2030.
There is currently a massive issue with involuntary maternal unemployment and maternal under-employment in this country. Over a million women are missing from the UK workforce due to the high cost of childcare provision, historically unequal parental leave and a lack of suitable, quality flexible jobs. Although the number of mothers in employment is higher than ever before, past academic research has suggested that most women who work with dependent children take up part-time, instead of full-time work due to child care responsibilities.
Part-time job opportunities tend to be situated in lower-level and lower-paid task-based work such as in the caring, leisure, admin, secretarial, sales and customer service industries. This has serious implications for mothers - and for the economy. Research over the last few years has revealed:
Nearly 3/4 of part-time workers are women.
54% of women working part-time were found in a 2006 study to be employed below their qualifications and potential.
51% of women working part-time and below their potential said they were only doing so because they needed to combine work with caring for children.
Two in five part-time workers were found to be earning less than the living wage.
Half of the net growth in female employment in 2014 came from women moving into lower paid part-time jobs.
27% of female graduates were working in lower-skill jobs than they were qualified for in 2013
Not only are many educated and highly-qualified women’s and mums’ skills being wasted in low-skilled, low-paid work, but new research by the EHRC has shown that some mums are routinely being discriminated against in the workplace when pregnant and returning to work after having children. They found that:
Up to 11% of new mums lose their jobs every year in the UK.
10% of mums said their employer had discouraged them from attending ante-natal appointments.
7% of mothers had been put under pressure to hand in their notice.
12% of mums reported being treated less favourably by a line-manager.
one in five mums said they had experienced negative reactions or comments about pregnancy or flexible working from their employer or colleagues before leaving or when returning to work.
That’s why we at Digital Mums are launching our #DontWasteTalent campaign to highlight the issue of getting experienced and talented women who want to work flexibly, back into the high-quality skilled work, that they, and the economy deserve.
That's because, as it turns out, what’s good for mums is good for business..
57% of businesses said hiring returning mothers significantly increased productivity by reducing induction and training costs.
Research by Ernst & Young has shown that women working part-time are the most productive in the workforce, wasting just 11.1 per cent of their working hours compared to 14.5 per cent for the rest of the workforce., and 14.2% of men working part time.
It's also been shown that having women in senior management roles or on boards significantly increases the success and profitability of companies:
A McKinsey report revealed that businesses with the most women on their boards of directors outperformed those with no female board members by a huge 41% in terms of return on equity.
A study of the Fortune 500 by Catalyst demonstrated that companies in the highest percentile of having women on their boards outperformed those in the lowest percentile by 53% in terms of a higher return on equity, 42% higher return on sales, and 66% higher return on invested capital.
Companies with more women on their boards outperformed those with no women by 17% higher return on sales and 54% higher return on investment according to a Danish study.
A report on mothers in the workforce revealed that 93% of businesses said offering flexible working hours was the top way of keeping women in the skilled workforce. Flexible working practices have also been shown generally to increase staff retention and reduce absenteeism, increase business productivity and improve employee relations. We can personally attest to the positive impact flexible working has had on our ability to attract talent and improve our productivity as a business.
Over the next few weeks we'll be celebrating businesses who are successfully employing mums to work flexibly, highlighting the skills of talented women with families being used flexibly and campaigning for the wider adoption of flexible working practices in business. Ultimately, we want to put an end to the wasting of women’s and mums’ talents.