Why are two thirds of mums interested in retraining?

A survey out today has shown that two thirds of mums are interested in retraining and 58% have considered setting up their own business.

The survey of over 2,300 mums by WorkingMums said the biggest reason for a change in career comes down to flexibility, with 36% talking about this ongoing requirement. 15% of those questioned said they wanted to be their own boss and 17% claimed they had always wanted to set up their own business. While 68% of women were just thinking about starting a business, 15% were already in the early stages of setting up and 10% were working on a business plan.

While access to funding was seen as the biggest challenge when it comes to making changes, the survey found 64% of women were interested in retraining and twenty per cent had retrained in the last 12 months, with 71% saying they would be more likely to retrain if courses were more flexible, that old chestnut once again.

Gillian Nissim, founder of Workingmums.co.uk, said: “These figures show that women are having to be very creative after they have children in order to keep working and have the flexibility and get the challenge they need. Having children can force a huge rethink in priorities which can lead to considerations around career change, but too often the reason women make these changes is because the culture at their previous workplace does not take into account the challenges they face. It is not that these women do not want to work and most have years of experience and skills. The ironic thing is that in being creative and adaptable they are developing the very skills that employers so need to confront the turbulent and dynamic world of work today.”

Over the past 11 years I have worked with a number of businesses that have been founded by women who have found it difficult to get back into work once they have had their children. I really wasn’t surprised to read the results of the survey and see only 14% had found a job in their field quite easily, but 32% could not find a suitable job in their field and 24% had found a job in their field but it was not flexible enough.

It is astonishing that in 2017 we are still facing this brick wall and there doesn’t seem to be any sign of it crumbling anytime soon.

Forget women smashing those glass ceilings, it would seem that all too often once children come along the only think that is getting broken is the LEGO we step on and the promises that are made that part time hours will be offered, and be that – part time.

Walk into any coffee shop, peer into the window of soft play centres and look around the supermarket and there you will find a pool of high skilled, trained workers who have some much to offer this society but all too often aren’t given the right opportunities to be able to do so.

I am lucky that I run my business along side my family and work while my children are at school and if I think about it, there isn’t anything I would want to do.  I love PR, my passion is for words and communicating but I simply couldn’t see how I could work in an office with structured hours and be there for my children.

Isn’t it time we looked at how to make family working a given rather than a lucky find so that women can pursue the careers they have spent years cultivating rather than swapping to do something else so that the real issues aren’t once again swept under the carpet?

Natalie

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