Moms The most overqualified talent stuck at the playground
The Case for Hiring Them
Plenty of employers dream of hiring temporary or part-time teams of seasoned pros adept at running multimillion-dollar marketing campaigns or spearheading strategic analyses. What they don’t realize is that playgrounds can be full of them: experienced professionals turned parents, who are eager to work but have been sidelined by parenthood for a few years or don’t want the full 9-to-5 commitment of their previous gig. “Small businesses have a unique advantage in that they can usually offer a lot more flexibility than a larger enterprise,” says Allison Robinson, founder of digital talent marketplace the Mom Project.
How to Help Them Succeed
Communicating expectations and needs—on both sides—can help get new hires integrated faster and increase their tenure. Some women returning to work after a few years away are eager to embrace a traditional workweek, but others may crave flexibility—to work remotely, to create a set schedule that’s not 9 to 5, or to work the hours needed to get the job done rather than hewing to a strict 40-hour standard.
Where to Find Them
Check out the Mom Project, the Second Shift, Après, Werk (left, co-founder Anna Auerbach), and Mom Corps. Each org’s process varies— from a DIY job board to having the team screen and curate candidates for you—as does the fee structure. There’s also been a bumper crop of work-training hybrid programs aimed at tuning up people’s skills after a few years on the sidelines. OnRamp Fellowship connects companies with legal and finance people, and through the nonprofit Path Forward, companies offer “returnships,” mostly for tech employees who have been out of the workforce for at least two years to focus on caregiving. The Mom Project also offers a “maternityship” option, in which you cover an employee’s maternity leave with a temporary hire of a parent looking for reentry.
Temporary or returnship roles can be a great way to test the waters: At Intuit, three-quarters of the 30 women who participated in its returnship program in India have joined full time. In March, the company rolled out the program in the U.S.
Companies Doing It Right
Returnships are up and running at giants such as Apple, Goldman Sachs, and PayPal and at upstarts like Instacart and Udemy. Box, Aflac, Netflix, Etsy, and Facebook are just a handful of the businesses using the mom-targeted placement firms to find their next hire.