Work as a Career and Greater Satisfaction in Moms.

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Category: Professional Perspectives

According to a recent Working Mother survey, moms who are career-oriented report greater satisfaction in all aspects of their life than women who work for financial reasons.  Women interviewed for the Working Mother study who see their job as an important career feel that they are able to develop their skills and feel as though they have a purpose, while they also sense they have more support from their spouses and generally feel more positive about the time they spend with their family.  Alternatively, career-oriented moms do report feeling as though they cannot get away from their work.

Women and men in the corporate world without children have a tendency to see career-oriented women as less likely to: “be committed to career advancement; take on additional work; be committed to job responsibilities; be willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done; take stretch assignments; reliably deliver quality work; and, be prepared for a promotion.”  The report shows that working-moms are concerned with co-worker’s pre-conceived ideas of what it means to be a “working mom.”

This report points to misconceptions that can lead to misunderstandings in the office. In the changing workplace, dialogue becomes a necessary tool for intervention and clarification among co-workers.

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Losing Women’s Talent During the Economic Downturn

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The National Women’s Law Center has issued a report about women’s work during the economy’s recovery period (July 2009 through February 2011). Women as a whole lost 300,000 jobs during this particular time.  Of the 1.234 million new jobs in the economy between July of 2009 and February of 2011, women occupied 113,000—which is only 9.2%. Essentially, women lost three-out-of-ten jobs during the recession, but are gaining back less than one-in-ten during the recovery. Men, on the other hand, gained 622,000 jobs during this time period, greatly gaining during a time when women lost significantly. These data are of further concern since women’s paycheck is often necessary to family income and since a growing number of women are single heads of households.

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Steps Toward the Retention of Talented Women.

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For its 25th anniversary, Working Mother published the findings of a study on “women’s representation and advancement” in the workplace, and strategies that can be implemented in companies to keep the corporate culture supportive of its women workers. Fortune 500 companies have found that there are five best practices for retaining talented women. These are: childcare (on-site or near-site, or priority enrollment at local day cares), flexible work schedules (negotiable start/stop time, telecommuting), paid maternity and time off (more than the FMLA-required 12 weeks, and time off for new fathers), career customization (“dialing up” to take on more responsibility when feasible , and “dialing down” when their lives are hectic or they have a need to pursue other goals, like a family), and networking and mentoring (establishing positive relationships among workers).

Working Mother also talked to Fortune 500 companies to learn how they thought they could expand their companies to be friendlier for working mothers.  The results were: more quality childcare, more advancement of women, increased flexibility, mentoring, and compensation.  These findings suggest that if companies can focus on these practices (along with other) workplace issues, the changes that will be made in the next 25 years will surely be beneficial to retaining women’s talent in the workplace.

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