The research, which was commissioned by Santander UK, reinforced how important it is for the health of the UK economy to ensure that working mums are able to fulfil their potential. The research coincided with the publication of the Women's Business Council (WBC) report. This provided a series of recommendations on how the UK's economic growth could benefit from maximising the contribution of women throughout their careers. The report suggests that equalising the levels of participation in the labour markets across both sexes could result in a 10% rise in GDP by 2030.
The report recommended that businesses should offer flexible working wherever possible and practical, and also that companies should do more to help mothers through return to work programmes and talent management schemes. These measures would certainly be welcomed by the working mums in Santander's research study - the majority believes offering flexibility is the key way in which companies could help mums catch up in their career after starting a family. In addition, around one in three think that companies should establish tailored career development plans which are specifically designed to help mums catch up in their careers after returning to work after maternity leave.
With Santander's research revealing that mothers who are currently working have spent an average of two and a half years on maternity leave or career breaks to look after their family, it is vital that women are supported once they return from this time away from their careers.
Santander's research showed that only 33% of working mothers felt that their careers were unaffected by their time away to start their family, and this could be a key area in which companies could help redress the missed opportunities outlined in the WBC report. One of the most significant considerations in bringing about equal levels of participation between the genders is that it's not simply an issue of the baseline numbers of women in the labour force, it's also a matter of enabling women to fulfil their career potential.
We would now like to know your insight into this area. Are there particular programmes, which have been successful in your own business, which you would like to share? Have you personally benefitted from any specific schemes designed to support working mums, or are there systems in other countries from which the UK could learn?
Please share your thoughts on the topic by emailing us at email@example.com. We would like to continue this area of discussion and will reveal some of comments in future articles.