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Women Returning To Work

Women Returning To Work

September 06 2017

‘Women returning to work’ is a priority item on many people’s agenda at the moment.  Many corporate Diversity & Inclusion policies are setting increased targets for women in the work force and a greater representation at Board level.  A key aspect of enabling this change is the development of a strategy that attracts women back into the workforce post maternity leave.  There are many different factors for families to take account of, not least the cost of child care to return to work.

This is a topic that I feel passionate about -having taken two periods of maternity.  I have been exceptionally lucky to work in a company that has always allowed me the flexibility to take the time off that I needed (without any pressure to return) and balanced this with an inclusive approach to work events during my time off.  On my return, I have been offered a flexible working scheme that has allowed me to spend what I feel is the right balance of time with my young children (for me) as part of a job-share arrangement.  During certain periods, I have demonstrated flexibility and increased my hours to accommodate change in the business but have once again been allowed the same flexibility to scale this back once the change period was over.  To me this is immensely important as no one in the business has ever made me feel guilty or questioned my commitment based on hours in the office.  This flexible way of working has also been offered to and taken up by various others in the business so is not unique to me, I should add.

I am now at a stage in my life where my social circle and wider network are largely at an age where their children are either starting school or very close to school age.  This is a turning point in both working and non-working mother’s lives, as we accept that we have done what we can in the pre-school years and turn to thinking about what we can do next, whether this is a change in working patterns, career or returning to work after a break.  Sadly, a very common theme in this group is low-confidence.  Having experienced personally what a year outside of the workplace can do to your confidence, I understand that this is multiplied for longer periods of career break, with many of my very capable friends stating that they could no longer return to their previous career path as they simply felt they could no longer do what they were doing before.  What I had on both returns from maternity leave was a genuinely supportive workplace, where everyone did their best to reintegrate me and let me make some mistakes and ask daft questions while I got back up to speed. 

Everyone needs support and encouragement to help them back into a role following time out.  This is something that I hope that we have always provided and will continue to do so at Wilkinson & Associates.  Working on the contract side of the business, I do feel that the areas I work within offer returners an opportunity to try out different roles and companies before re-entering the permanent market place.  Sometimes, this can also be accompanied with additional flexibility on the client’s side due to the nature of contract hiring.  Some of our SME clients need talent, but not necessarily full time. The message I would like to send out to Women Returners is this:  Our clients are interested in talented individuals.

If you are a qualified accountant, or equivalent, and you are interested in returning to work following a break, we would like to speak to you.  Many of our clients are embracing change and flexible ways of working.  At the very least we would be interested in giving you an appraisal of the market and where you could potentially fit.  If we don’t currently have the right roles, we may be able to point you in the right direction of others who could help.  One thing to keep in mind is that finding the right route of return can take some time, so it is good to start having conversations sooner rather than later.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.  Please get in touch for a confidential conversation on 0131 225 8030 or email andrea@wilkinsonandassociates.co.uk

Andrea Green, Associate Director

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