Reluctance to hire working mums
CANDICE BROWN has never had a problem finding family-friendly employers.
The 25-year-old pharmacy retail manager, and mum to three-year-old Olivia, has had access to flexible working arrangements since her daughter was born, including the option of part-time work and time off, no questions asked, when her daughter is ill.
Her employer at the Amcal Pharmacy in Byron Bay, pharmacist Fleur Marsden, said flexibility had always been a part of the pharmacy industry as the workforce was predominantly female. Of the 19 employees at her pharmacy, 18 are female.
“Just about everyone job shares in this job,” Ms Marsden said.
“We have some women who start here, go and have kids and come back, go from full-time to part-time.
“Women have babies, it's life.”
However, it appears not all employers are as female-friendly as Ms Marsden.
A study by workplace solutions company Regus has found the proportion of companies intending to hire more working mothers has slumped nationally by 14 per cent in the past year.
The study interviewed 214 companies from Australia and found more than a quarter were concerned about employing part-time returning mothers because they felt they may invest training in them only to find that they leave after a short time to have another child.
More than a third said they were concerned about employing part-time mothers because they might not be able to offer the flexibility and commitment of other employees.
The study links the attitudes with “economic belt-tightening”.
But business entrepreneur and founding manager of the Women's Network Australia, Lynette Palmen, said companies who continued with the out-dated attitude would do so at their own economic peril.
“Smart companies are harnessing the resources and contribution working mothers make to the business sector, removing any barriers of dual responsibility with the use of technology and flexible working environments,” she said.
On the positive side, the majority of businesses (63%) surveyed in the study valued the skills and experience mothers bring to the workplace.
Ms Marsden said this was especially relevant to the pharmacy industry.
“A large proportion of our customers (at the pharmacy) are mothers themselves, who come to us as a first point of contact. They might have a child with a rash and want reassurance and advice on what to do. When you have five mothers here with practical exper-ience of kids it's a big advantage.”
WORKING MUMS STUDY
The proportion of surveyed companies intending to hire working mothers has dropped by 14% nationally since the same time last year.
More than a quarter of Australian companies are concerned about employing part-time returning mothers because they don't want to spend money on training only to have them leave a short time later to have another child.
Almost a third of companies said they were concerned about employing part-time returning mothers because they might not offer the flexibility and commitment of other employees.