Posts Tagged ‘career break’

Talent Management- Accommodating Working Mothers

March 8, 2010 4 comments

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.