Why do mothers find it so hard to get back into work in the region?
Louise: Until now, finding a professional role in the region that offered part-time or flexible working has rarely been possible. Unlike many other countries in the world that successfully employ the part-time and flexible model, we are yet to see this in the UAE and indeed the wider region.
Mums@Work was launched to make it easier for mums to get back to work – by not only connecting candidates with clients, but guiding and mentoring them to ensure these women have the skills and confidence to get the jobs they want.
What steps need to be taken to encourage them to find roles?
Louise: We have found that mums in the UAE are super keen to consider going back to the workplace given the right flexibility. Our recent survey with YouGov shows that 77% of professional mothers would like to return to the workplace, but wanted to do so on a flexible basis. We work closely with mums to carefully consider the type of role they would like to return into and the type of hours and flexibility required to match their family commitments.
We find some mums that have been away from the workplace for some time are more in need of support from us in terms of refreshing their CV or skill sets, which is where our soon to be launched career hub will look to support to ensure a smooth transition into the workplace.
What benefits could this have to business and society?
David: The region has gone through a complete metamorphosis in the last 10 years. Previously people came for a two-year secondment or posting, but now they are buying houses and making Dubai their permanent home. The schooling system, infrastructure and housing market all cater to long-term residents. As people stay longer we are having to adopt similar traits to Europe, where both parents tend/need to work. This is out of financial necessity but also a desire to work and excel in your career.
The hugely untapped market of working mums has yet to be discovered.
How can employers help mothers back into the workplace?
Louise: This works two ways – employers welcoming mums back to the workplace are getting fantastic opportunity and access to experienced and skilled women who pre-children had very successful careers. However as mentioned to get the best from this untapped talent pool, flexibility is a key requirement.
We work with companies to ensure we can offer the right amount of flexibility appropriate for the business and the role. From this we match our mums with the right role and right company. Interestingly research from our survey with YouGov indicated that the biggest barrier for mums returning to the workplace was flexibility, with more than 38% of women claiming they couldn’t juggle family and fulltime workplace commitments.
Why is now the time to help?
David: Companies in Europe and the US have already woken up to the potential of working mums and are tapping into their experience and knowledge. We have met over 60 companies who all see the benefit and advantages of employing working mums. We are launching our site soon and will feature a number of key employers across various sectors and role types, perfect for professional mothers looking to re-enter the workplace.