Business Irish

Thursday 19 July 2018

Revealed: top motive for maternity return

More women returning to work said the social aspect to working was more important than cited the financial incentive (stock image)
More women returning to work said the social aspect to working was more important than cited the financial incentive (stock image)
Ellie Donnelly

Ellie Donnelly

More women returning to work after maternity leave or a career break said the social aspect to working was more important than cited the financial incentive.

Almost eight in 10 women returning to work after a career break or maternity leave are in non-managerial roles and just 5pc are senior managers or directors, according to a survey commissioned by New Ireland Assurance in conjunction with eumom.

The findings follow a report last month from professional services firm EY, which found that just under half of Irish executives surveyed were in favour of regulation as a driver for creating more diverse and inclusive organisations.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, work/life balance and childcare arrangements top the list of concerns for women returning to work, with the two issues being of concern for three-quarters of the 1,375 women surveyed.

The follows a report earlier this year from Eurostat which confirmed Ireland's record as one of the worst countries in Europe for affordable childcare.

The Eurostat figures published in February found that well over a third of Irish parents (38pc) cited financial concerns as the main reason why families did not make more use of formal childcare services for children under 12, putting Ireland third-worst behind Cyprus at 40pc and Spain at 52pc.

By comparison, in Sweden and Denmark only 1pc of households reported that finances held them back from accessing childcare.

Meanwhile, for half of the women who took part in the New Ireland Assurance survey, all of whom either recently returned to work or currently are on maternity/career leave, working arrangements are a concern. Eight in 10 said flexible working arrangements would smooth their return to work. Many also favoured an 'easing in' process to bridge the return to work.

While one in four said better communication from employers prior to returning to work would make it easier for them

"After a career break or maternity leave, both men and women should feel supported throughout the process by their employer," said New Ireland Assuranc HR head Oonagh Kelly.

"The research shows an appetite for employees to be kept in the loop before coming to work.

"It is up to employers to find out directly from colleagues what their concerns are and how they can be supported more throughout this process."

Irish Independent

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