Does having kids make you less employable? A recent study says yes.
A study conducted by workplace provider Regus found that globally, companies are losing confidence in working moms. The report in Business News
adds that whereas a year ago, 51% of South African companies were planning to hire working moms, the figure has fallen to 31% this year.
Companies have expressed concerns over a lack of commitment, moms leaving shortly after training to have another baby, outdated skills and a lack of flexibility on the part of working moms.
I could easily launch into a rant about how prejudiced these views are, but in order to remain objective, I asked on Twitter
whether anyone had been refused a job because they were a mom.
Melanie, mom of 2, had this to say:
‘No, but would we ever know?’
True. This issue is similar to that of disclosing your pregnancy during a work interview. Is it illegal to conceal it? According to the South African Labour Guide
, it’s not. But if you were overlooked for a position because you were pregnant, or in this case, a mom, would you ever be told that that was the reason? Companies are too clever for that.
Melanie argues that fathers aren’t asked the same questions during job interviews as mothers, such as whether we have a good support structure at home. She also believes that it’s not moms who lack flexibility, but businesses: they are inflexible on the issue of family responsibility leave and should allow parents time off for sports days and meetings with teachers. Great mom = great employee?
In a blog post on JoziKids
, Lindsay Grubb contends that working moms can be just as hard-working and dedicated as their child-free co-workers. She cites her dedication to meeting deadlines after hours despite working a full day and looking after her child in the evening and lists some of the qualities that make us great moms and therefore excellent employees: flexibility, patience and creativity, to name a few.
Regional director of Regus, Celia Donne, says
that we should bear in mind that companies have expressed these views about working moms because of stringent economic times: ‘It is not surprising to see that prejudiced attitudes come back into play with economic belt-tightening and some businesses are evidently still guilty of applying old-fashioned misgivings to the contemporary work environment.’
On a positive note, the Regus study also reveals that 67% of UK companies believe they are missing out on a valuable sector of the employment pool by not employing moms.
Prejudice is everywhere. In reply to my question about working moms, one Twitter user said that she was turned down the opportunity for an interview because she wasn’t a mom.
The Regus study shows that we need to overcome stereotyping in the workplace now more than ever. As Lindsay so cleverly puts it: ‘31% of South African companies are smart enough to recognise the talents [moms] bring to the table. Let’s show the other 69% what we’re made of.’
Are working moms good employees?