Did you know... according to ONS data, the gender pay gap quadruples when women hit their 40s due to parenthood? To mark this year’s National Inclusion Week, themed #ThePowerOfNow, I wrote this blog about how maternity affects women in the workplace, and how organisations can take action now to keep returning mums in their talent pipelines.
Written by Dr Emma Waltham | Maternity Returners Expert
To mark this year’s Inclusive Employers National Inclusion Week, themed #ThePowerOfNow, let’s look at how maternity affects women in the workplace, and how organisations can take action now to keep returning mums in their talent pipelines.
According to the Everyone Economy report from the Chartered Management Institute, around 560,000 female managers are ‘missing’ from the UK workforce, and an additional 800,000 female managers would be needed in the workforce to equal the proportion of females in the UK population by 2026.
Tellingly, the report found that female managers with children were twice as likely as male managers with children to say that they had missed out on promotions, pay rises and stretch projects.
Similarly, the ONS announced in December 2021 that the gender pay gap quadruples when women hit their 40s due to parenthood. These numbers show that we clearly aren’t living in a society where women are able to continue their career pathway when they become parents.
Frustrated and unmotivated: the impact on mums
This is certainly reflected in my conversations with returning mums, who feel frustrated as they are often overlooked for promotion and find it harder to progress in their careers after becoming parents.
At a recent workshop I hosted, working mums had this to say:
“I just feel unmotivated to go back. You know, I was quite an ambitious person. I wanted to move on and help out as much as possible and now I just don't feel like that at all.”
“You come back to work and… my whole life has just changed. I'm frazzled. You have to deal with a baby, get him to nursery, before you even start work. The managers and the people that I'm working with have been a bit naive just assuming that I can handle that. It would just be nice to have a bit of a softer return in.”
“There was a structure change a couple of years ago, which actually no one was consulted about. It was simply done to people. There was a lot of promotions for men. However, I was given a whole extra workload. No more remuneration. A lot of my colleagues were given the same who were female.”
The importance of Active Allies
This year, National Inclusion Week emphasises the importance of being an “Active Ally”; the idea that regardless of what position you hold in your organisation, you can be an active inclusion ally for those around you. Managers, HR professionals, friends and colleagues all play a part in fostering a truly inclusive culture.
I’m currently delivering maternity allyship workshops for a variety of clients, to help them raise awareness in their organisations of the importance of allyship and its impact on returning mums, to help them retain and develop this talent pool.
Have you been inspired by #nationalinclusionweek to take action? Do you want to make sure your parental returners start 2023 feeling engaged, motivated and ready to further their careers?
Drop me a message, and let’s talk about how your organisation can be in a great position to get started in the new year.