Legal Recruitment from Ten-Percent Legal

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Solicitor Mums returning to work

Solicitors returning to work after having children

It is apparently the case that mothers returning to work after starting a family suffer the highest employment penalty of any group. (Equalities Review). Mothers with children under 11 are 37% less likely to be offered a job than equivalent males. Single mums suffer even worse figures - with it rising to above 40%. Firms should not ask questions about childcare or how you will deal with work and children, although we know that some do. It is very hard for mothers to get back to work at times - not only do they have to make childcare arrangements, collect and drop children from nursery etc.. but also research shows that they are still expected to do the housework! Some mothers also report lacking confidence to go back to work or do their job again after caring for their baby at home.

If you are a mother thinking about returning to work or about to go off on maternity leave, have a think about discussing the situation with your current employer before going or returning. Sometimes we find candidates automatically assume that the firm will not be favourable to them having flexible hours, reducing hours or having a longer maternity break. This is not always the case, and if indeed your worse fears are confirmed, you can always go off and find another post in the meantime!

If you are a firm reading this, think about the maternity from the mother's angle - she is going to worry that she is out of touch whilst off work, cannot return, worried about leaving her child at nursery or with family, and also about the money (income drops quite dramatically during maternity leave). If you value your employees prepare to be flexible in the short term, as you may find that longer term the solicitor or lawyer remains with you and is loyal to your firm (provided you are being nice on other fronts such as salary levels and career progression if wanted!).

Possible links for mothers are Learndirect free telephone coaching service - 0800 100900, www.setwomenresource.org.uk - work experience placements for women wanting to try new careers, www.motheratwork.co.uk is a website looking at the balance between work and family life, and www.mumpreneurs.co.uk for information about setting up your own business (as long as it is not a legal recruitment agency!). Our career coaching service can also assist - www.ten-percent.co.uk/career-coaching

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