Working mums can fill skills gap, say UK firms
The 2200-strong poll of business owners and senior managers also reveals that two fifths (41%) anticipate hiring more working mothers in the next two years, up from 26% when Regus asked businesses the same question in 2011.
Respondents pinpoint flexible hours, working closer to home, part-time work and the option to video conference instead of travelling at least some of the time as the top strategies to get more mothers back into the workforce.
In particular, six in ten report that more women are demanding to work remotely when they return to the workforce. Just under half (49%) say working closer to home is a key incentive, rather than working from home, pointing to the suitability of local & lsquo;third place’ workhubs such as business centres.
Nearly a quarter (23%) of those surveyed note that they are seeing more women take maternity leave of under three months.
Celia Donne, vice president for Global Operations at Regus, commented, “With reports highlighting that the non-participation of women in the economy is costing as much as 27% per capita GDP in some countries, and that companies with more women on the board are more profitable, it is high time that UK businesses address the issue of how to adapt working practices to better suit working mothers.
“It is very positive that two in five UK firms intend to hire more women returning after maternity leave but they often find that juggling professional and family duties can be very demanding, if not impossible. More employers are realising that flexible working is critical to helping women back into the workplace, especially the option of working locally from a business centre or & lsquo;third place’ rather than commuting.”
Regus is the world’s largest workspace provider with 220 locations in the UK alone. Companies that work flexibly with Regus include Google, Toshiba and GlaxoSmithKline as well as thousands of SMEs.