Posted Under: Uncategorised
Time to force change? Top talent to quit communications industry if flexibility for working mums is not addressed.
In response to a national survey conducted by Hanson Search and in association of the CIPR, which revealed that a record 13.4% of senior female employees plan to quit the industry in the next two years if employers continue to deny flexible provisions for those wishing to return from maternity leave and maintain negative attitudes, an independent Task Force has come together with the aim of helping to retain top talent within the communications industry, and ultimately minimise the apparent gender diversity gap.
550 male and female communications professionals were interviewed and the following results were revealed:
• 9.4% of employers felt they had serious reservations about hiring women aged between 30-40 years old fearing they would, at some point, fall pregnant.
• 62% of employees felt that they would be discriminated against if they were to become pregnant.
• 49.3% of respondents have observed issues or problems among colleagues directly related to their return from maternity leave, such as difficulty with flexible working hours (64.6%), reduction in perceived status (59.9%) and negotiating part-time employment (53.2%).
It was then further revealed that 48.5% of women would consider seeking employment elsewhere if such issues concerning flexibility were not addressed. Such anxiety is having a devastating effect on confidence levels among those returning from maternity leave. 48.2% of respondents reported on a lack of self belief in their ability to do their job as effectively as before. This is worsened by a fear of being undermined by their peers (78.4%) once they return.
From an employer’s point of view, there are some common long-term worries concerning senior female employees and maternity leave. 57.5% fear that they will be losing a valuable resource, 49.7% worry about stability, and 51.1% said that they were concerned about the challenge to fill the recruitment gap.
So what can be done about this and ultimately get the balance right?
• Create the right company culture – be honest with your employer, and vice versa.
• Take Responsibility – inform employers of pregnancy sooner rather than later.
• Devise a maternity comeback framework – manage expectations to mutual benefit.
• Reappraise the legal situation – establish family rights.
To help drive positive organisational change, it is critical that momentum continues – not only in helping retain top talent within the workplace but ultimately reducing the gender diversity gap among senior women returning from maternity leave. In doing so, it is imperative that we aim to encourage wider reaching networks and partnerships across like-minded organisations to share experiences/best practices and this will form the context of the Gender Balance Task Force, a central hub/collaborative of key stakeholders which provides a crucial resource/support for both employers and employees alike seeking workable advice and guidance. From this, we can help to introduce senior women back into the workplace with ease and with fairness.
If you would like an extensive copy of our results, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
By Alice Weightman