It can be pretty tough for mothers returning to the workforce after caring for young children, but a new survey says New Zealand might be one of the world leaders in valuing their skills.
A survey run by Regus, which operates business centres around the world, found that three out of four New Zealand respondents saying they "value the experience and skills of mothers coming back to work after having children" the highest result of any country in the survey.
From the UK, 73 per cent saw the value, with Australia at 71 per cent and the USA 66 per cent.
When it came to France, just 40 per cent of respondents valued the experience and skills of returning mothers.
"New Zealand was the first country in the world to allow women to vote, so it's no surprise that Kiwis are leading the way at seeing what returning mothers can bring to their businesses," said Paul Migliorini, Regus chief executive for Australia and New Zealand.
Migilorini said the issue was economic as well as social. "Making the most of the valuable asset that is working mothers helps New Zealand reach its full economic potential and gives it an advantage over its competitors."
Some of the reasons given for valuing returning mothers were:
- Being more organised
- Being more reliable
- Better time managers
- Harder working
Migliorini says the results show businesses value returning mothers for a range of different reasons, but mostly for their skills and experience.
"Women make up almost half the workforce, and most of them will have children at some stage in their lives, so it's a big issue for businesses," he says.
"Businesses need to have a strategy to retain top talent. With returning mothers they need to be aware of their particular needs, which often include greater flexibility. Regus offers a range of services that can support those needs."
When you're a returning mother you have to juggle everything. You know you have only so many hours to work, so your output is higher. There's a lot less chit-chat around the coffee machine.
Regus said one of its clients Anne Casey, a marketing consultant and mother of three children, says returning mothers bring a "focus" to their work that makes them valuable to employers.
"When you're a returning mother you have to juggle everything. You know you have only so many hours to work, so your output is higher. There's a lot less chit-chat around the coffee machine," she said.
"It's a two-way street. These mothers want a certain lifestyle and when companies that provide that it's not taken for granted."
The survey was an opt-in survey sent out to businesses in the Regus database. There were more than 40,000 respondents globally including 117 from New Zealand.