Tal­ented mums sitting on work­force side­lines

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MOTH­ERS are find­ing it tough to break back into the Ade­laide work­force be­cause em­ploy­ers are un­will­ing to take them on part time, a re­cruiter says.

Ta­lent2 con­tract­ing man­ager Michael Clark says many pro­fes­sional and ex­ec­u­tive women who want to re­turn to the work­force af­ter tak­ing ma­ter­nity leave are find­ing it hard to get a job be­cause em­ploy­ers refuse to be flex­i­ble about child­care re­spon­si­bil­i­ties.

He says em­ploy­ers some­times hire less-qual­i­fied or less-ca­pa­ble staff just be­cause they can work five days a week in­stead of four or three days, and this can hurt their busi­ness in the long term.

Yet many moth­ers can do the same amount of work in part-time hours as in full-time and of­ten are will­ing to take work home af­ter hours, Mr Clark says.

‘‘Em­ploy­ers are re­ally strug­gling to find peo­ple with the right skill set but peo­ple shy away be­cause they’ve been out of the work­force for 12 months or seek flex­i­bil­ity to pick kids up from child­care,’’ he says.

‘‘Ade­laide is a fairly con­ser­va­tive city and, un­like other places, hasn’t em­braced tech­nol­ogy.

‘‘You can re­ally log on from any­where and work re­motely.

‘‘Still em­ploy­ers ex­pect peo­ple to rock up at nine and leave at five and work to that.’’

Mr Clark says many Ade­laide em­ploy­ers feel it is too hard to or­gan­ise job-share ar­range­ments for some roles, fear­ing in­for­ma­tion will be lost in tran­si­tion. But he says such ar­range­ments can work well and are com­mon over­seas.

‘‘It can be frus­trat­ing, from my per­spec­tive, to see such high­qual­ity peo­ple and know how good some­one is and can’t get an op­por­tu­nity,’’ he says.

‘‘No one gives them the chance. (Em­ploy­ers will) get a ded­i­cated loyal team if they give it a go.’’

CPA qual­i­fied ac­coun­tant Lisa Ger­gos, 35, was made re­dun­dant while on ma­ter­nity leave with her first child four years ago. She found part-time con­tract work four days a week when she re­turned to the work­force. But she found em­ploy­ers were un­will­ing to hire part-time work­ers when she re­turned to the work­force af­ter the birth of her sec­ond child, now 18 months old.

‘‘The sec­ond time around it was a lot harder,’’ she says.

‘‘As soon as I said ‘four days a week’, they were not in­ter­ested.’’

She looked for work for 21⁄ months be­fore se­cur­ing an­other part-time con­tract as a State Gov­ern­ment pro­ject of­fi­cer. But she is un­sure of her em­ploy­ment out­look af­ter the con­tract ex­pires later this year.

She urges em­ploy­ers to be more flex­i­ble and ap­pre­ci­ate the skills moth­ers can bring to a job and the work­place and hire them if they have the best skills for the job.

‘‘You don’t just have to or­gan­ise your­self but your kids and some­times your hus­band,’’ she says.

‘‘You get to be the most or­gan­ised, efficient per­son and a lot of these skills you trans­fer from the home to the work­place, for sure.’’

Pic­ture: Camp­bell Brodie

Ac­coun­tant Lisa Ger­gos strug­gled to se­cure suit­able part-time work af­ter the birth of her sec­ond child 18 months ago.

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