A decade after Madeline Albright declared “women can have it all, but not all at the same time”, a slew of tech and media companies are setting out to prove her wrong by embracing what’s become known as “Mumternships”. main image (#Mastercard The Belle Block)
Returning to work after maternity leave or an extended period of time spent raising a family or caring for a relative is not new for women in the workplace, but it can be intimidating.
Industries move on, skill sets need to be updated, and most importantly, a fundamental change in priorities needs to be addressed. This is where Mumternships come in by providing additional support to women returning to the workforce.
While the practice has its detractors, a deep dive shows that Mumternships aren’t that far away from what Ms Albright believed: that unless things change for women in the workforce, continuing the way we always have is not viable.
A woman returning to the workforce after a career break was half as likely to get a new job compared to somebody who had been laid off, says a 2018 Harvard Business School study.
While Goldman Sachs first introduced its Returnships programme a little over a decade ago, the returner programmes it, and other companies offer are gaining more ground in recent times. Today’s Mumternships take a broad view, and encourage workers to return to employment in a full-time position, but with additional support, upskilling opportunities and a balanced workload to enable the perfect mix of opportunities to be discovered.
Returnships and Mumternships also include mentoring and networking opportunities as well as flexible working, so family commitments can be fulfilled alongside professional ones.
So how can working mothers make their return to the workforce as smooth as possible, and take advantage of these opportunities to bolster their careers long term?
This applies to both yourself and your new employer. Ask yourself, “What is my actual capacity at the moment?” Committing to more than you can fulfil will lead to stress in all areas of your life, and disappointment on the part of the employer––so it’s better to underpromise and overachieve than the other way around.
Depending on how long you’ve been out of the workforce, you may now be grappling with new technology, processes or industry players, so don’t be afraid to ask for help. An employer that is committed to welcoming returning mothers to the team won’t shy away from supporting you in areas that need help.
Now might be time to let go of the ego. Yes, you have a skill set and experience, but so does everyone else in the company. You will now be working with colleagues who may be younger than you but are in more senior roles. Look at experience and knowledge, not age, when it comes to dealing with work mates for a much smoother re-entry experience.
There are several U.K. based companies currently hiring, all of which have stellar records when it comes to welcoming and supporting women in the workforce.
In fact, more than providing lip service, these companies have established programmes in place, including Mumternship opportunities, to ensure diversity and equal opportunities for all employees. We’ve highlighted three companies below, but there are dozens more opportunities to be found by exploring the Alt A Review Job Board.
Through the Mastercard Foundation, Mastercard is committed to empowering women across the world––with The Belle Block just one initiative created to encourage women and non-binary people to embrace Web 3.0. So it comes as no surprise that Mastercard is just as progressive within its organisation as well, ensuring women continually thrive through internal programmes and initiatives. Mastercard is currently hiring for a number of positions and you can browse all opportunities here.
ITV is committed to hiring a diverse workforce that is representative of modern Britain, and has set up a number of initiatives to ensure this happens, including The Women’s Network and ITV Balance. The Women’s Network is represented by women from all levels across the organisation, and works to ensure that women returning to work after having a family have all the necessary support they need to grow their careers. This includes the launch of a maternity support programme, which offers advice and assistance for women approaching and returning from maternity leave. ITV is currently hiring for a number of positions; discover those here.
Founded in 2007 by Diane Yu, FreeWheel provides support and structures that enable women to not only survive in tech but also thrive. At the time of FreeWheel’s creation, only 10% of tech founders were women, and Yu felt it imperative that men and women were treated equally in the workplace. That changed when she realised that for women to excel in male-dominated sectors, additional resources, support and strategies are needed. The Women in Leadership programme was born, which places emphasis on flexibility. So strong is its impact that 93% of female employees at FreeWheel would recommend it to a friend as a female-friendly place to work. The company is currently hiring for a number of positions––discover those here.