Home > Talent Management > Talent Management- Accommodating Working Mothers

Talent Management- Accommodating Working Mothers

The world will celebrate International Women’s Day to commemorate the social and economic achievements of women across the globe. While there is a reason to celebrate we must also realize that there is no room for complacency. With time there are new issues faced by women today and occasions like IWD should be used to draw everybody’s attention to such issues.  

I would like to take this opportunity to highlight an important issue; loss of women talent due to career breaks.

Maternity is the main reason for break in women’s career. Other major reasons are children education and spouse relocation. When this break is longer (2 to 4 years) women find it difficult to restart their career. In absence of a robust system to accommodate working mothers women are pushed to extreme choices: avoid taking break or sacrifice career.

Lately the awareness on this issue is growing and many companies have started offering flexi hours and work from home facilities. MNCs have taken a lead here and this has definitely helped the companies retain their talent. However the bigger question is about women who want complete break for longer duration. Do we have a formal system to regain and accommodate the latent? The answer is no!

A formal ‘re-entry’ program at organizational or industry level is the solution. Under the formal program specific career paths will be available for women taking longer breaks at various stages. This will ensure that they don’t loose on career by taking a long break and can join back easily.

It is not wishful thinking or a (women’s) day dream. Such experiments have been successfully carried out in MNCs as well as Government departments. GE has initiated a similar program in 2008 titled ‘Restart’. They had received more than 1000 suitable profiles for highly technical positions! Recently Haryana Government has announced Child Care Leave upto 2 years for their women employees. Such a system provides great relief to women who need to cater to their family needs. And it also helps organizations to regain the women talent which would otherwise be lost.

However, these are the honorable exceptions. Very few organizations have a defined program to facilitate re-entry of women into the organization.

It’s a huge emotional burden for the women if she is not able to take time off for important family matters. And it’s equally frustrating to loose on the career front because of the break. Fortunately the honorable exceptions have proved that there is a way out. If we pursue this matter further then the next Women’s Day can be marked with announcements of such re-entry programs across a broader industry spectrum.

  1. Shilpa Chitre
    March 9, 2010 at 9:30 am

    TCS did something similar a couple of years ago in India too. I think it makes a lot of sense not just to women who want to re-enter the job scene but also to companies who get qualified resources at competitive costs.

  2. Kanchan
    March 9, 2010 at 12:06 pm

    Considering the culture and social environment in India, there are various challenges for working women. Most of them are forced to take a career break after maternity due to lack of good support system. I think its time to change the rules around maternity leave. Apart from increasing the duration to about 50 weeks, the leave should be considered as “parental leave” i.e. shared with the father. This provides a good foundation to the children who will make the future of our country.

  3. March 23, 2011 at 12:58 am

    I agree with most of the points mentioned. I was working in TCS and NEC . It is obvious that women are scares in the middle & senior level. Ever since i have relocated to US . I cannot help notice the number of women in all the strata of the corporate ladder. Following are the reasons how US corporate houses have successfully managed to have a large women workforce despite the fact that an average American women cannot afford maids and they do not have family support.

    1. Day care : This is the lifeline for all American women employee workforce.

    2. Work from home/Telecommuting: American pay a lot of emphasis on work-life balance, hence both men and women are allowed to work from home to take care of their children .

    3. Innovative products that makes domestic work easier : As mentioned before in US , people cannot afford maids unlike in India , hence there are lots of innovative products that make domestic life easier that allows a women to enjoy work & her child. Examples : pre-cooked food for dinner/lunch for family to cut down on cooking time , automated vacuum clearer etc.

    • Pranav
      April 13, 2011 at 5:10 pm

      Day Care was a taboo for many parents until recently due to social norms in India. With the advent of nuclear families, people have realized that it’s a necessity if the kid is to be looked after properly. And I have seen lots of women benefiting from day care facility.
      Work from home will take some time as Indian companies are still not comfortable with virtual workplace. Also I have seen many employees misusing the facility.
      Women here still are not able to get rid of cooking which consumes most part of their personal life. So we still have a long way to go.

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