The Unrecognised Benefits of Hiring Returners

As featured in last week’s HR News, Rachel Morar, MKF’s COO, offered her insight into the business benefits of hiring women who are returning to the workforce after having children.

New legislation, including gender pay gap reporting and shared paternity leave, are undoubtedly steps in the right direction. However, a lack of support for mothers returning to the workplace is not only significant but also remains a key challenge for many women.

The Problem

The scale of the issue is vast. Certainly, there are an estimated two million people in the UK looking to return to work after a significant period of time away. Nine out of 10 of which are women, and many of these are mums looking to return to the workforce after having children. Unfortunately, there are countless barriers in their way, and this talented group of individuals continues to be overlooked by employers. So much so, that an estimated two-thirds of women work below their potential when they return to the workplace.

The Key Benefits of Hiring Returning Mums

Inject Additional Skills into the Team

Women returning to the workforce, particularly if they left to start a family, come equipped with a host of additional skills.  These include increased productivity, efficiency, empathy, and a new capacity to multitask.

Boost the Economy

As well as boosting the bottom line, there’s also evidence that proves supporting women returning to work has a positive impact on the UK economy. In fact, it’s estimated that hiring women returning to the workplace would generate £1.1 billion annually.

A Motivated Force

These individuals are also likely to be extremely motivated. Making the emotional decision to spend time away from their children means they will be determined and committed to getting the most out of their time at work. As a result, they’re amongst the hardest-working individuals in the team.

Offer a New Perspective

In addition, parents returning to work will bring a fresh and valuable new perspective to the company. For many businesses targeting a consumer audience, a significant proportion of their target market will likely be mums. Therefore, having their voices heard in the workplace makes perfect business sense.

Achieve Diversity Targets

More businesses than ever are introducing diversity targets, and  businesses with these in place are significantly more attractive to prospective employees. Therefore, hiring an eclectic and diverse workforce is more important than ever for UK businesses. Employing women returning to work after having children can be successful in helping companies meet these targets, particularly those relating to gender and age.

How Can UK Businesses Work to Counter This Challenge?

With 76 percent of professional women on career breaks wanting to return to work, it shouldn’t be challenging for UK businesses to incorporate them into their hiring process.

Despite this, there remains countless unnecessary barriers standing in their way. Women returning to the workplace after having children are amongst the most undervalued, unsupported and underestimated groups in society. This can be attributed to discrimination during the recruitment process, through to a failure to support women once they return to work. In fact, an incredible 90 percent of returners claim they received no formal support programme at all upon their return.

Clearly, more needs to be done. It’s the proactive businesses that recognise and invest resources into attracting, hiring and retaining women returning to work. They will be the ones reaping the huge rewards that this overlooked talent pool offers.