Moms are one of the largest segments of diverse talent in today’s workforce. If you’re not tapping into this talent pool, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to impact your workforce and business objectives.
Moms are ready to get to work and want to support their employers in big ways - but they are looking for employers who are willing to support them in return. The Mom Project has identified the following as key factors in the successful hiring and retention of moms in the workplace. Consider the following as you scope, build, and recruit for roles:
Ready to Interview or Hire? Become Your Top Candidate’s Strongest Advocate
Congrats! You have made the incredible decision to include a mom (or ten!) in your candidate pool. While moms don’t require a completely customized approach to their interview process, we do recommend considering the following as you learn about your candidates, assess their skills and experience, and advocate for them as a top candidate for the role. These are highly motivated and dedicated individuals - so take time to dig into their stories.
At The Mom Project, we believe there is power in the pause. Stepping away from the paid workplace to dedicate time to children or family is deeply meaningful work. And when the time is right to reenter the workforce, these candidates are ready to get back to business in powerful ways.
As you interview candidates looking to reenter the workforce after a career pause, ask them about the skills & experience they have gained during their pause. You will be amazed at how much they have acquired during their so-called “break.” Think: managing schedules, networking, and a whole lot more.
One of the largest things that returners possess? Critical soft skills. These are a highly valued asset - and they cannot be easily taught. Take time to learn about candidates’ soft skills, and amplify those to your larger organization as you advocate for a candidate.
Career pivots are common - and show a unique type of drive within a candidate. Consider the following as you interview candidates who are making a move into a new type of field, industry, or role.
Emphasize soft skills and technical skills of a candidate that would make her a fit for the role.
Identify any up-skilling opportunities that the candidate has pursued to prepare for pivot.
Leverage individuals that the candidate has networked with in order to learn more about the role or prepare for the interview.
Read more on the incredible skills that moms possess here.
Flexibility is one of the key items that moms consider as they make their next career move. But keep in mind that flexibility isn’t one size fits all.
Define flexibility. For some, flexibility means working convenient hours (instead of the standard 9 to 5). For others, flexibility means the option to work remotely.
Discuss the benefits of flexibility. Just to name a few: increased productivity, increased employee engagement, increased results, limited distractions.
Acknowledge “optics” and “equity” but present flexibility as a potential alternative. Often, employers focus on the optics of having employees in the office with the notion that people need to “see” each other working. Another common argument is equity across the team, department, and organization as a whole.
Provide flexibility. Keep in mind that new moms are experiencing motherhood for the first time and the journey from maternity leave to returning to work can be daunting. Every transition back to work looks and feels different.
Support childcare needs. Extend childcare resources and supplemental help if available to new moms. These resources are critical for moms successfully returning to work and help in their planning/scheduling decisions.
Check in with candidates 1-2 weeks to ensure the important details of their start/return date, manager/team information, etc. are discussed and provided in advance.
Career gaps are common. Of the 43% of working women who take a career break to care for family, 90% return (or plan to return) to work. Consider how an extended career pause could be an asset to the firm. Years away from the workplace can bring unique and diverse perspectives from a broad range of out of office experiences.
Ageism is a perspective-based bias. Depending on our own age, we will consider the threshold of old age differently. At The Mom Project, we encourage treating candidates as individuals rather than part of a larger age group. In other words, let’s discuss a candidate’s unique capabilities rather than what people her age are believed to be capable of.
There are a number of favorable trends that are challenging ageism today:
Expanding lifespan: From 1900 to 2000, the average lifespan of an American grew from 47 to 77. Workplace paradigms in place today (like retiring at 65) need to be reimagined to fit this new landscape.
Multi-generational workplace: For the first time in history, we have five generations working at the same time. This diversity of age is supporting enhanced productivity and cutting-edge innovation.
Women are driving business creation: The rate at which women-owned businesses grew from 2008 to 2018 was 114%. In that same period of time, the overall growth of new businesses in the US was 40%.
Need more evidence to challenge ageism? Check out this video.
The Mom Project offers a breadth of resources to our Community. Learn more about the mom job seeker and candidate experience to become the ultimate advocate by reading The Essential Career Search Guide for Moms.