It's no secret that being a mum is a job in and of itself, nor is it surprising that being a new mum is an entire, revolutionary life change. Likening it to the most intense on-the-job training possible gives you at least a little bit of an idea of the stress and rewards of being a new mum.
But being a mum isn't the only thing most women aspire to be – they have career goals, and becoming a mother doesn't mean that their goals change. According to a survey by Monster.com in Malaysia, 48% of respondents said their motivation to work is for personal fulfilment and to reach the top of their field, while nearly 50% cited financial motivations. In fact, many women in Malaysia who want to remain in the workforce after starting a family look to change jobs after completing maternity leave. The Monster #SheMakesItWork survey aimed to glean a deeper understanding of why mums change jobs after returning from maternity leave, and after surveying women across Malaysia, the insights are in.
We learned that almost 70% of the survey respondents said that they were planning to search for a new job in the next year – that's an incredible number of women with their sights set on looking for a workplace change. Why is this? We've rounded up the top three motivations below: 1. Seeking upward mobility in the workplaceWhether it be a pay rise or a promotion, 35% of respondents said that they're looking for a new job because they would like better opportunities. Given that 75% of the survey respondents are employed full-time, with nearly 30% of respondents contributing to the household income and another 21% acting as the sole earner for their family, income is a major factor for working mothers.
2. Lack of growth in the current roleAnother major consideration for women in the workplace is the amount of growth they’re afforded in their job – in fact, 23% of respondents noted lack of growth as why they’re on the prowl for a new job. If they feel they’ve achieved all they can and that there isn’t anything else to learn or any other responsibilities they can take on, then it’s time to look for something new instead of growing complacent.
3. A desire for flexible working optionsAn employer who allows a little flexibility with a workday schedule is a major bonus for all employees, but it's especially meaningful to new mums, whose lives are a now a new kind of balancing act. If a workplace is rigid in their scheduling and not helpful or understanding on those mornings when things go awry at home or there’s a child-related emergency midday, then it’s no surprise that working mother would look for an employer who understands that work-life balance sometimes doesn’t line up with the typical 9–5.
4. Looking to change careersSometimes the reason a mum is looking for a new job has less to do with being a mum than a desire for a career change. Like many people who have started careers in one industry and found that they just aren’t as passionate about it as they once were, but feel energised at the thought of going into a new sector, sometimes a mum just wanted to do something new.
5. More supportive employerRounding out our list of reasons why mums change careers is that they’re looking for a more family-friendly employer. Many of the women who participated in this survey rated highly such benefits as flexible scheduling, including the option to work from home when need be, a transition period when returning to the workplace after maternity leave, and a lactation room for mothers who are still breastfeeding and need a space to pump during the day. By supporting them as they become acquainted with their new roles as both mother and employee, a business will be able to retain a great employee instead of losing them to someone else. Workplaces looking to better support mothers would do well to examine their current internal policies and attitudes towards employees who are parents, and then make the necessary adjustments so that they can assist their working mothers in their efforts to balance career and motherhood.