Susanna, co-founder of software company OneFile, and Jane, founder of training organisation Successful Mums

New research by businesswomen Susanna Lawson and Jane Knight aims to help employers gain a better understanding of how to support women returning to work after maternity leave and retain key female talent in their organisation.

Susanna, co-founder of software company OneFile, and Jane, founder of training organisation Successful Mums, have joined forces to investigate the practical steps businesses can take to support “women returners” and to assess the impact of these measures on staff retention.

Research cited in the Government’s recent Guidelines on Returner Programmes shows that 1.9 million women in the UK are economically inactive for caring reasons and that while three-quarters of those surveyed by Opportunity Now want to return to work at some point, “significant personal and structural barriers stand in their way”.

As working parents themselves, both Jane and Susanna are passionate about helping women overcome the challenges they face returning to work after having children. The approach businesses take to these employees is a big part of that picture, explains Jane, and can have a huge impact on women’s ability to return to jobs commensurate with their skills and experience, to retain and develop their skillset and to progress their careers.

“Susanna and I are both ‘women returners’,” she says. “We have first-hand experience of the challenges parents face when they go back to work after a career break and feel driven to help support these women and ensure they are able to participate in the workforce as fully as they wish.

“But we are also both employers – and have a lot of contact with other employers around the country – so we know that this issue has wider ramifications for businesses.

“In a nutshell, when working mothers do not receive the support they need, their employers risk losing these valuable members of staff, their skills and their potential. This can lead to a skills shortage, as a vast pool of untapped female talent goes to waste, and reinforces the gender pay gap.”

Though many organisations have reported this skills shortage as a concern, it is something that is being felt across a broad range of levels in every sector. Indeed, recent estimates by PwC suggest it is costing the UK a staggering £1.7bn per year in lost economic output.

With the stakes so high, it’s no wonder employers are looking for new ways to retain and develop the working mothers on their staff and keep their skills and experience in-house for longer. According to Jane – whose company offers training to women returners and connects them to flexible employers – businesses need more information about how they can ease the transition back to work for women after maternity leave.

This is where Jane and Susanna’s research fits in. Their survey of working mothers who returned to their existing employer after maternity or adoption leave focuses on the support they received on going back to work. Data is being collected on the offer and uptake of initiatives ranging from Keeping In Touch (KIT) days and gradual return to work, to flexible working patterns and refresher training – and, significantly, how helpful women deemed these initiatives to be.

As well as asking women to identify the most effective things their employer did or could have done to support their return to work, the survey also covers women’s job satisfaction and engagement pre- and post-career break.

Jane and Susanna are hoping that the results will identify which actions have the best possible outcomes for both women’s experiences of returning to work and employers’ ability to retain returning staff.

“Our aim is to pinpoint any training needs that exist among employers that will help them make a real and lasting difference in this area. There’s a chance here for businesses to take practical steps to not only retain and develop their women returners but also, going forward, to attract key talent in the market,” says Jane.

“We’ll be looking at whether education is needed around cultural change or redesigning jobs, for example, and hope to be able to design and deliver this training in the future.

“The simple fact is that helping businesses retain their ‘women returners’ is not only good for the women, it’s good for business, it’s good for diversity and inclusivity in the workplace and it’s good for the economy as a whole.”

Jane and Susanna will be reporting on their preliminary findings at the Celebration of Women in Apprenticeships Conference on 19 July in Coventry, which will highlight the achievements of women in the sector and the opportunities it can offer working parents.

You can get involved in the Returner Survey by completing and sharing it here

You may also be interested in these articles:

Advertisers

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Video Advert

Newsroom Activity

Ahlan Safety commented on 5 ways to keep your Company safe 6 hours 3 minutes ago

Workplace health and safety is very important part for every business. I read these 5 steps, So I...

Ahlan Safety commented on 5 ways to keep your Company safe 6 hours 3 minutes ago

Workplace health and safety is very important part for every business. I read these 5 steps, So I...

I really enjoy to read this article. I want to...

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In May 2020, FE News had over 120,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.

Podcasts

We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.

Events

FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page