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Half of mothers find it 'impossible' to return to their field of work

Finding a job in their original field of work is proving a challenge for working mothers

Nearly half (48%) of women who take a career break to look after children find it impossible to find a job in their field when they try to return to work, according to a survey by website Workingmums.co.uk.

The survey of over 2,300 mothers found that 21% of those that managed to secure a job in their field had to take one at a lower level. Some 16% found a job in their field which was not as flexible as they would have liked, and only 15% said they were able to find a job in their field quite easily.

The survey also found that finances are not the only reason women return to work after having children. Although this is cited as the top reason, with 69% of respondents saying that money was a ‘very important factor’ and 25% reporting that it was ‘important’, many said that ultimately, they liked their job. More than six in 10 (61%) said they would work even if money were not an issue.

In addition, 38% said liking their jobs was a very important reason for going back to work. Social needs were also cited as a reason to get back into the workplace, with 61% claiming that returning to work was important or very important to secure adult company, and 55% said it benefitted them to get out of the house.

Many of the women were also interested in learning new skills, with 65% reporting that they were interested in retraining.

Workingmums.co.uk founder Gillian Nissim said many organisations have started to focus on women returners in the past year. “They argue that many women have years of experience and represent a huge and often overlooked talent pool,” she said. “Far from the stereotype, [these women] are also often highly motivated. The survey statistic that 61% would work even if money was not an issue shows that sense of commitment as well as the fact that they derive a lot of enjoyment from their work.”

Starcom Mediavest Group UK HR director Liz Nottingham, who is also founder of Back2businessship, added: “Even now in 2015 women are still not proportionately represented at senior levels with large numbers leaving their careers each year. Whichever way you look at it, this makes no sense at all.”