Working Moms: Juggling Family and Career

May 05, 2015

Working Moms

In honor of Mother's Day, we would like to recognize all of the hard-working, schedule-juggling moms in the world. Thanks for being an inspiration to the rest of us as we attempt to be as organized and efficient as you.

Several decades ago, males dominated the workforce. In fact, at that time, it was socially frowned on for married women, especially mothers, to work outside of the home. Societal norms dictated that women only serve as homemakers and child caregivers. Times have changed. Let's examine the statistics.

According to 2013 data acquired by the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics:

  • Women accounted for 57.2 percent the labor force, meaning this percentage of working age women (16 years of age and older, civilian, non-institutional population) held jobs.
  • The labor force participation rate of mothers with children under 18 years of age was 69.9 percent (57.3 percent for mothesr of infants).
  • The labor force participation rate for single mothers with children under 18 years of age was 74.2 percent.

These statistics reflect the new norm for women—having families and careers. Today, working moms are not uncommon. A lot of women struggling with issues of balancing work and family may unknowingly seek inspiration from the previous generation—their career-driven fathers and their stay-at-home mothers. These two demanding, yet rewarding worlds sometimes collide for today's working moms, usually with a call from the school nurse on the same day as an important client meeting.

What does this mean for employers? The demand for family-friendly workplace practices and cultures is becoming a competitive advantage for many companies in attracting and retaining female talent. Organizations that respect workplace diversity and accommodate the needs of working parents, especially through offering workplace flexibility, will see the economic benefits of satisfied, engaged, and more productive workers, high employee retention, and lower employee turnover.

So, why do working moms make great employees?

Moms are often experts at time management. Moms can think through the logistics of a project and pull it together in record time—whether coordinating soccer practice with piano lessons or planning a board meeting with conflicting schedules. Let's face it, moms usually have excellent organization skills.

Moms understand the importance of teamwork. Mothers know how to evaluate the skills and talents of others and work cooperatively to encourage everyone's best effort. Moms have experience playing mediator on the home front and excel in conflict management on the work front. Excellent people skills are necessary for building rapport and trust, not only with coworkers but also with clients.

Career-driven moms often have the education to back their ambition. Generation X and Millennial women are highly educated. According to data released in 2014 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, by 27 years of age, 32 percent of women had received a bachelor's degree, compared with 24 percent of men.

Part-time positions for working moms are economically sound for businesses. Many busy mothers would prefer to work at less than full time, trading the additional income from a full-time position for more available time with their children. Many companies these days have jobs that require expertise in a number of different areas. By hiring two half-time moms into a job-share situation, companies can fill the positions with two experts in their respective fields, often at the cost of hiring one employee. Also, since most part-time positions do not include benefits, companies will see reduced costs in that regard as well.

Human resource professionals play a key role in successfully recruiting, developing, and retaining working mothers, and should continuously assess their company's gender biases, recruitment tactics, and employee-development practices.

ZERORISK helps organizations build great cultures by identifying, developing, and retaining top talent. The ZERORISK Hiring System blends a revolutionary behavioral science with state-of-the-art technology to reduce unwanted turnover and improve employee performance. For more information contact us at (800) 827-5991.

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