Business News

Working mums can fill skills gap, say Irish firms

By Business & Finance
06 March 2014

New research published by global workspace provider Regus for International Women’s Day shows that eight in ten Irish firms believe that their industry misses out by not employing women after maternity leave and over two thirds (69%) say that returning mothers bring skills and experience which are difficult to find in the current market.

The poll of business owners and senior managers also reveals that over two fifths (45%) anticipate hiring more working mothers in the next two years, up from 34% 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, nearly six in ten (57%) report that more women are demanding to work remotely when they return to the workforce.  Over two fifths (45%) say working closer to home is a key incentive, rather than working from home, pointing to the suitability of local ‘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.

Karen Lawlor, country manager for Ireland at Regus comments: “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 Irish 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 ‘third place’ rather than commuting.”