Since the recession hit the UK market, women have experienced significant setbacks in the labour market.
Global firm PwC carried out research which found that the UK amongst the OECD countries, ranks 18th out of 27 on some key indicators of female economic empowerment - female unemployment rates, equal pay and the proportion of females in full or part-time work.
The report also found that results over the past decade have slipped back further with women in the UK less likely to be in work and experiencing lower job security and greater pay inequality since the recession in 2008.
Gaenor Bagley, head of people and executive board member at PwC, said: "The current workplace model is broken and does not provide enough flexibility. Without fundamental changes it is hard to see how any real progress can be made."
Posted in Juggle mummy!
Do you feel as though you never sit down? You are not alone. A recent study found that many working mums spend around 13 hours per day on the go.
If you are trying to balance a domestic life with working you could be on the go 65 hours per week. With the growing demands of raising a family and keeping up with financial responsibilities you could be on the go for at least 13 hours a day to keep plate spinning at work and home.
From the 2000 women questioned in the survey, three quarters admitted they rarely sit to eat breakfast and dinner. The day starts around 6.45 for most with no rest until at least 9pm when all the chores are complete. Sounds familiar?
Posted in Juggle mummy!
I’ve just come back from a week's holiday from work. Despite advising all and sundry of my few day's absence, spending lots of time to prepare for my absence and leaving meticulous notes for my "cover", I still came back to a mountain of emails, meetings and work requests.
By Monday lunchtime I was just about raising my head above the parapet, when I was landed with prep for an important Board meeting mid-week and down the ladder I went to sit firmly in Square One again!
I found myself wondering if my few days away from the office were really worth all the pain and suffering (slight exaggeration) I was now experiencing and wondered was there anything else I could have done to prepare for my absence.
I'm going away for 3 weeks in April and quite frankly am dreading to what I'll come back to...
Is this the price I have to pay for having half term off to spend quality time with my son? I'm wondering how other cope and what your experiences are. I'm looking forward to hearing your comments!
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As more and more parents seek flexible working patterns a high proportion of this group are mums returning to work post maternity or after a career break.
We are seeing evidence of organisations working with flexible policies and they are embracing work-life balance. This is all very well and part time jobs have mostly been the option for working parents, however some businesses would benefit even more if they thought about a job share perhaps?
Even the best intended part time roles present challenges and unfortunately some working mums can end up even more stressed and over worked keeping the balance when working reduced hours. Many companies do compromise and really value returning mums and offer pretty much the same job with reduced hours. The main problem here is that unless the role is tailored to the output required, then the employee ends up squeezing more hours into fewer days. If you have a supportive boss and team which is what I experienced allowing me to work at full speed and be challenged, however at times I found it very tough. This isn’t always the fault of the organisation. If they are encouraging more women back to work as they realise the benefits of talent retention and skill, but the roles on offer are confined to set part time hours then it can sometimes turn out untenable for both parties.
Some organisations on the other hand offer part time roles where they can but are highly sensitive to reducing hours within client facing roles and some positions with high strategic content. Fair enough but by planning and structuring business needs around women wishing for more flexible working patterns they could be in more advantageous position.
I have never personally experienced job sharing in my career however I worked with a few clients over my time who operated in this work pattern and demonstrated efficiency and success.
A success story I recently heard of is of when a Global organisation restructured a client facing business team and it was decided that the roles would ideally be full time. The situation arose at a time when a couple of returning mums (ideally searching for flexible working) who figured that with their wealth of experience and relationship with their clients it would be a loss to the business if they were not to be a part of the team. Collectively they presented to the business that they could perform the role as a job share. Armed with the positives and not so much of a mention of many negatives they won over the support of the business leaders and since then have been successfully sharing a client facing, highly operational role between themselves for over 3 years now. They are delighted to have their flexible opportunity along with continuing to work in such a business. The clients themselves are equally satisfied to have the sustained relationship and level of service commitment. A real key to achieving their success is that they compliment each other extremely well with their skills and experience but more importantly work ethic and professional attitude.
If more businesses could think wider and not see a job share as a risk, but a positive retention of talented and skilled working mums who can continue to deliver and probably more efficiently too.
I think some guidelines are equally essential to consider when structuring such a position(s);
- An accurate workload agreed and divided equally
- Very clear lines of communication
- Clear lines of communication is compulsory between job sharers
- Compliment each others skills/experience along with work ethic and professional attitude
Schools have broken up and the Easter holidays are upon us! Great for some working families, however this extra long Easter break may become a logistical nightmare for many.
This is a rather “late” Easter as the religious dates go and accompanied with school holidays, Royal wedding and more bank holidays thrown in, unusually, some children will be only attending school for approximately 6 days throughout the whole month of April!
Many parents will agree that the extended school holidays will create pressure as working parents “struggle” to “juggle” childcare for their children. An even more complicated scenario arises when siblings who attend different schools with varying holiday schedules.
The headache doesn’t stop here. The cost! I have arranged a smattering of activities for my eldest child. Thankfully he is football crazy and therefore there are some economical options to keep him occupied over the days when I must work. I have heard of some rather expensive clubs which, on top of usual childminder before and after school fees really add up. I dread to think how much families have to spend when there are more than one child to cater for with school holiday activities. Thank goodness for grandparents is all I can say!
This feels more like a summer holiday break and I have heard of many working parents who won’t even be able to take any time off as their job commitments take priority. I am sure the this is where long bank holiday weekends will be greatly received here!
What are your plans? How are you going to juggle?
That dreaded “G” word. You and I as working mums know how it feels….
I have committed to working in London this week to help out my former colleagues. Great fun, extra cash and a bit of old me back!
Always takes me longer to get ready when I go to work as little ones always demand extra attention and the big arm on the clock, for some reason swings around faster than usual. Two year old is “extra” clingy this morning and as I give mum the rundown I gently distract her, big kisses and leg it for the door. I haven’t noticed she isn’t feeling well.
Into London fully charged, I go through my mental checklist for the day and place the “guilt” far down the list as it “will soon be over and I will be on my way home”…I say to myself…
Rambling on through my first meeting, silently my Blackberry flashes up “home”! Heart sinks, try to keep calm, focussed and start panicking …..
As soon as we take a break, I call mum back and two year old “not herself” and has developed a temperature. Wants to sleep, won’t drink…..I suddenly want to go home. Excitement of day diminishes and I am losing my focus. Count to ten and my mind is back in perspective and I think I can keep going. Mum reassured me. “She’s gonna be fine”…..I carry on.
Afternoon flies by and I can’t wait to get home. Quick call and mum has made an appointment for Doctor as my daughter who is usually “full on” really isn’t well. Heart sinks. Feel really bad as I dismissed her a little this morning. Thought she was playing up.
Get home and take daughter straight to Doctors…..She isn’t right and he diagnoses her with septic tonsils. Now I feel really, really awful. How did I miss that! The guilt! It just doesn’t get any easier in all the years I have been a working mummy.
This week I started a new, full time, job. It seemed like a great idea at the time; I believed it was just what I was looking for – local to where I live so no long commute, a big company (which is what I’ve been used to working for), in an business sector which interested me, and the content of the job was challenging enough to be interesting, but not so much that I was going to be out of my comfort zone.
However, a day before my start date I was told that it had been put back a day, and I was also advised I’d be spending the first couple of days in London. That was OK. I could deal with that, as my hubby was working nights and therefore around during the day to drop and pick up my son from school.
A day later I subsequently found out that the agency hadn’t quite given me the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth about my salary. It kind of took the shine off the situation. I was due to start work the next day, and I seriously considered doing something which I have never done before… pulling out of the job before I’d even started. I felt “had over” by the agency, but decided that for the sake of my professional pride let alone anything else, that I had to at least give it a chance.
So on the day in question I went into Central London to start my Induction. However during the course of the day I was told by new employers that they expected me to work 08.30-18.00, and not 09.00-17.00 as I’d been told by the agency, this added fuel to the fire and further doubt in my mind.
The days itself went well. I was shown round the immense building where all the corridors looked the same, introduced to a plethora of people who’s names I knew I wouldn’t remember, and given so much new information, I developed a headache. To say I wasn’t as enthusiastic as when I was offered the job was an understatement. So by the time I left the office at twenty to 6, I felt dead on my feet, seriously regretting my choice of footwear, and couldn’t wait to get home. The commute home was, as to be expected at that time of the day, a living hell. I couldn’t physically get on a tube train for 5 trains, which meant that by the time I got to the train station time was pressing on. Luckily I managed to catch the required train with a minute to go. Someone must be looking down on me!! The train finally rolled in at 7.15pm and I wearily got though the door soon after as my hubby came to collect me from the station, with my little boy in the back in his pajamas, ready for bed. I felt guilty as hell and further doubts started to creep in about what a bad mother I was being, believing myself to be selfish. Talk about beating myself up?!
The minute we walked through the door the bedtime ritual of story time started, whilst my hubby cooked dinner. I changed out of my work clothes and came downstairs, eating my dinner at 8pm. At half past, my hubby went to work and I went to bed, physically exhausted and wondering what to do about my situation. Should I stay (pro’s; it was a wonderful opportunity, would be mostly local, the extra money would come in very useful, and the job has the possibility of being more long term if it all works out. Con’s; Having to go into London weekly, how were school holidays going to be dealt with, the hours and how it would affect the family, motherly guilt, and overall massive recriminations)
I slept like a log, which is unusual when hubby is working nights as I’m usually so restless. My son woke up at 5am which meant that I was also up at this time. The plan was for my hubby to get in from work around 6.30am, have breakfast together, and then drop me off at the station at 8am to get in for 9.30am, and then drop my son off at school. By 7.30am there was still no sign of hubby as he’d been delayed. I was mentally making a Plan B about dropping my son off with a friend and rushing myself to the station when hubby finally turned up. Luckily I’d had the foresight to buy a train ticket the evening before, avoiding the massive queue that had formed and which would have delayed me still further. I caught the 8.03 train and was walking through the office door at 09.15!
Friday went much better than Thursday. I met the senior Director that I was going to be working for and had a chat with her about hours (amongst other things). I’d decided to approach the subject on the basis that I had been advised the hours of 9-5 by the agency and planned my childcare around this. If she was anti-working Mums then I wouldn’t want to be in the job working for someone with that attitude anyway. Not that I expect special treatment… just some empathy and understanding. She was totally fine about it, asked about my son and told me she has an 18 month old little girl. The subject was quickly dealt with and I was worrying over nothing it seems!
I had a good day on Friday, left the office at 5pm and arrived at our local station at 6pm (the wonders of catching the fast train and the difference it makes!) I can cope with that!! I start at my office base on Monday so it will be a whole new set of buildings and people to get used to, but having a little knowledge about the set up in the London office, I feel confident that things are going to be OK….. Moral of the Story – nothing is as bad as it may first seem. Monday? Bring it on!!