We have a wealth of experience in our mothers and the experts we work with; we asked for top tips on helping mothers feel energised and confident on their journey back to work. Here are the results that should help you transition smoothly back into work: 1. Be proud of what you do... Celebrate motherhood and discover how to transfer the skills you have learnt as a mother to the workplace. “Remember all that you have achieved in your career before and everything you have learned as a mother - the combination of these two things will blow their socks off!” “Preparing to enter into the world of work, means moving away from the mindset of ‘I’m just a mum’ to one that sees your skills, abilities and experience in a new way.” “Truly value the skills you had before you became a mother and those you have learnt during your pregnancy and transition to motherhood. Write down all the achievements previously attained and spend some time remembering how you felt at the time.” “Make a list of all the skills you've been using during your break and consider how these are transferable to work (chances are there's nothing more challenging at work than negotiating with a determined toddler at home!).” “Enlist the help of your friends and loved ones to tell you what they consider your strengths and skills to be too.” “Be proud of your extended career break. What makes you the best candidate and how has your extended career break contributed to that?” “Acknowledge the huge growth you have experienced and will bring to a new employer.” “Make a note of all your strengths (not just what you're good at but what you really enjoy and what energises you).” 2. Focus is everything What is your ideal job? How many days do you want to work? Become clear about what you want and focus on it. “Take the time to find out what you really want to do. Think about combining your personal skills in a job sector you are interested in.” “Write out a simple reminder of your “what” and “why,” so that you can pull it out in moments of doubt and reconnect at any time with your creative and inspiring energy.” “Be clear about what you want and why. Identify your motivations for going back to work. Is it for financial reasons? to contribute?, to be a part of something, or to have an identity..?” “What are your priorities? What you are prepared to be flexible about and what is non-negotiable?” “Before looking outwards, spend some time looking within. Find 10-15 minutes a day for 7 days. Sit quietly and allow yourself to envisage your "perfect job", the hours, the location, the salary, and the purpose. How would it feel to see this opportunity appear and grasp it with both hands?” 3. Keep In touch Even if it’s just the odd drink, It’s a good idea to keep in touch with old work colleagues. Aside from reminding yourself that you did have another life before becoming a mum, you never know when that perfect job might just pop up. “Networking, networking, networking - this is the key to survival in the corporate world. Update your LinkedIn profile and see what groups others are following in your field. Follow organisations you would like to work for, and approach them directly, either through a contact or research the name of a head of department and send a letter to them.” “While away from work, try to stay in touch with colleagues and others in your industry, so you're not completely out of the loop when you return. Read relevant industry magazines and websites too.” “Focus on building your network. Treat every meeting as a potential work opportunity - jobs are quite often created around people, so be prepared to talk positively about what you have to offer.“Resist slipping into underselling yourself by talking about what you can't do/don't know/feel worried about. Save this for your closest friends and family!” “Engage with social media and set up your profile on LinkedIn (but don't treat this as a substitute for getting out and talking to people).” 3. Get work ready Having a CV together and your childcare in place is vital. That way you can feel focused and strong about finding work. “Your CV is your key marketing tool - be sure you have it looking good and stating your achievements in previous positions.” “Practice interviews. Think about your pitch and what you have to offer employers.” “Find out what recruiters are seeking and maximise your potential by filling any gaps through developing new skills.” “Chat with a professional CV writer or career coach. Your confidence in your skills and what you can offer to an employer will soar.” “Lots of people aren't sure how to cover a career break in a CV but you can turn it into a positive.” “If you have the time but no finance, hone your skills by offering to undertake a volunteer role – for example on a church committee, school governor or at a charity shop.” 4. Train your confidence According to the experts, confidence is simply a state of mind that you can practice. “Write down your top 50 'confident' moments. They are all there - you just need to look for them.” “Believe in yourself and trust the inner intuition that has prompted you to return to work in the first place!” “Re-connect with your previous successes rather than feeling you need to re-prove yourself and start all over again. “ “There is no failure only feedback. For example after a disappointing interview, remember you have learnt something from the experience and you can do better next time.” “Stop with the comparison. Be happy in your own skin.” “Are you sure you want to do the job you are applying for? In my experience when someone doesn't want to do something, they find every excuse not to and the procrastination creates unhappiness. “ “The more excited you are about your potential new endeavor, the more you'll have what it takes to make it happen.” “Learn to silence your "inner critic", which erodes self-confidence and hampers your ability.” “Praise yourself for the things you do well, keep this up when you take the first step towards getting a job and make a habit of it whilst you are working.” “Surround yourself with positive "can do" people who are supportive and contribute to your sense of self-worth.” 5. Create a back to work look According to the experts, it’s about a handful of basics. For more inspiration, check out (link to wardrobe blog) our blog for further top tips on your back to work wardrobe. “Remember if you look good you will feel better about yourself. Take the time to think about the clothes you love wearing and why.” “Nail your capsule business wardrobe. You need far fewer clothes than you think to create a successful working wardrobe. The key is to ensure all your items colour co-ordinate, which then gives you endless outfit combinations. Just 4 jackets, 2 skirts, 2 dresses, 4 simple scoop neck tops, a pair of trousers and a Mac will give you enough outfits for at least a month!” “Have a haircut, get a manicure. Be polished and you will look like you are in control which is the first step to being in control!” “Make the most of accessories - accessories are an easy and inexpensive way of adding interest and personality to your outfits.” “Think about your the impact that you want to have when you first meet a prospective employer. What does your appearance say about you? How smart, confident and contemporary do you look?” “Treat yourself to some office clothes so that you feel the part - even if it's not how you're feeling on the inside, an outfit that 'fits the part' will really help your confidence.”
On this week of Mothers’ Day we see increasing levels of spending each year, with £928M spent in the UK alone in celebrating our mothers with flowers, cards and gifts. What is it about this one day that brings out such generosity towards mothers, and can this really be the one day of the year that we truly recognise the value of the contribution mothers make to our lives? Business owners of Small and Medium businesses frequently ask me: “What salary would your mothers expect to earn for this role?” I find it incredibly hard to answer this question specifically, as every job is unique and there are so many factors that go in to determining a person’s salary. The level of responsibility, the role you want them to do, how much value you attribute to their skill set and experience, what you pay the rest of your team, the age and stage of the company, the culture of the company, the geographical location of the company - and that’s before you get down to the nitty gritty of what days or hours you want them to work. Pay mothers what they are worth My answer is always consistently the same – RESPECT your employees. They want to be paid what they are worth, and paid enough to be motivated to do a job properly, based on output and contribution. Women also want to be respected for being mothers – and that’s the beauty of our site. Our 2to3days site allows these women for the first time to bring their whole self to the interview instead of a more usual navigation of the need to mention their children and their need for flexible hours. Acknowledging the ‘elephant in the room’ upfront allows the interviewee to shine and to respond whole-heartedly to questions without having to be on high alert about when the right time is to mention that she has children and therefore would love to do this role but flexibly! Instead, with palpable relief they can have the children conversation, get that bit acknowledged, and move swiftly on to why and how they can fulfil the role to everyone’s satisfaction. Don’t b*llsh%t our mothers! So no - it’s not respectful to ask them to do a five day job in four days, or to go with the attitude of ‘what can I get away with as it’s a part-time role?’ or having the mind set of paying them less as they will be grateful to have a job because they are a mother! 2to3days is an engaged community of around 20K people who believe in the value of part-time work for mothers. Its growth is shaped by its members, and our mothers vote with their feet – if a poor lowly-paid job is advertised on our site they don’t apply. Give them a great job that oozes RESPECT for the value that they can bring to your business and you will attract the appropriate applicants. Every day can be Mothers’ Day So follow the principles of respect and no b*llsh%t and you will earn our mothers’ respect and benefit from employing one of our fantastic and experienced mothers who will be loyal and capable additions to your company. Place an advert with us and enjoy the calibre of applicants that will come rolling in.
8 March was International Women’s Day. The theme of the day was #BeBoldForChange, and I had an awesome, unforgettable, game-changing day for 2to3days. I wanted to share with you what I got up on behalf of our fast-growing community. 2to3days is only 18 months old, still regarded as a ‘startup’ comprising a small team of ambitious people who are on a mission to end one of the UK's biggest current dilemmas – how do we unearth the employers who ‘get’ the value of hiring a smart, ambitious mother on terms on anything other than your traditional full-time contract and connect them to the most hidden but ‘most’ capable and committed workforce in the country, if not the world! Our aim is to be the UK No 1 site and the message I would like to feedback to each and every one of you brilliant mothers and forward-thinking employers is we are making tremendous headway in achieving that goal. So here’s a quick snapshot into my day what I did, what I learnt and who I met. It started with me forgetting to make a packed lunch for my daughter who was off on a school trip! Suffice to say she didn’t go hungry and I think I am forgiven. 1. Breakfast with Sadiq Khan and Allbright (funders of female-led businesses) Sadiq Khan opened the breakfast session telling us that he is a feminist and totally committed to getting more women working in the capital, as currently 1/3 of all senior jobs are done by men, who earn 12% more than women – complete shocker!! The press team were in full force and I had a split second to grab his attention to tell him about 2to3days and I did, phew! The upshot of which is I am now in touch with his colleague who is responsible for talent acquisition, so watch this space. We then had a panel discussion with three female founders, Cat Gizzoli of Piccolo, Aneeqa Khan of ePorta and Emily Forbes of Seenit who shared their entrepreneurial journey and their pearls of wisdom included: Grab the silver lining of every situation You grow with likeminded people around you, not by doing it on your own Self-confidence – separate personal from business – social media makes it tough and brilliant so surround yourself with people who will champion you 2. Lunch with Real Estate Women and BNP Paribas The man responsible for the event (which I didn’t know before I arrived) had been my Head of Talent 20 years ago when I was a Chartered Surveyor – so you just don’t know what connections you will reignite when you turn up to an event! Two brilliant women addressed the room, Ainslie McLennan from TH Real Estate and Dr Clare Eriksson Director of Research at the RICS. Their talks were peppered with great insights. Dr Clare had been told in order to get ahead Never pour the coffee Don’t take too many notes in case you are asked to write up the minutes! When looking to do anything that will help you progress always ask – the worse anyone can say is ‘no’ and they will, but ask anyway! #BeBoldForChange – ‘Be’ your own personality Dr Clare went on to talk about financial security for women vs choices: "...childcare should not in my opinion be a woman’s issue but a family issue. When my children were tiny my husband saw our childcare cost as an investment in my career not as a cost that had to be worn heavily on my shoulders ( I won’t lie, at times it still did, as that is the mind set of our society but it made those tough conversations a lot easier to have due to his mind set!)" Whilst Ainslie McLennan encouraged us all to: ‘fire our line managers’ if they don’t ‘hear’ you and help you progress! ‘Be’ curious, look for solutions ‘Be’ upfront – don’t say anything you wouldn’t say to the person it was meant for! 3. Afternoon reception at No. 10 Downing Street Yup, I got to walk through the famous black door! The Prime Minister hosted an event to celebrate and thank all the people from the armed forces, charities through to business who are collectively making a contribution to the empowerment of women and I made the cut – this was a landmark moment for me both personally and professionally and one that will be cherished for years to come. I made some fabulous connections with captains of industry who loved my story about 2to3days – I now have some very key sales meetings in the diary – the jobs are coming and just for you! 4. Evening cocktails at the Power of Women Awards by Dress for Success hosted by the CBI I was humbled to watch women from across industry receive awards for their contribution to female empowerment in the workplace – I also made some more great connections from more captains of industry who just love the 2to3days mission! By 9pm I crawled home – both exhausted and exhilarated by my day. #BeBoldForChange – my takeaways from this incredible day: Be your true self – my authentic self is powerful 'May I say hi?' or 'May I join your conversation?' – that’s all you ever have to say to join a conversation to make your next great connection ‘Be the change you want to see in the world’ – Be you!
Here at 2to3days, we always have an ear to the ground to find exciting, flexible working opportunities for our mothers. Sometimes this happens in the most unlikely of places. On a trip to the bowling alley with her children, our CEO, Juliet Turnbull, struck up a conversation with a mother in the next lane. When the conversation turned to business, it transpired that her husband was experiencing difficulty recruiting for a sales manager role, until 2to3days stepped in. Barns Morison, the founder of Pineneedle, tells us more: Can you tell us a bit about Pineneedle? Pineneedle was founded by my business partner and me in 1988 as a print and design company producing bespoke publications. Now, we are the leading agency in producing wedding and ceremonies literature for councils across the UK. Our company comprises of two directors, one graphic designer and a sales team of six, three of whom have been found through 2to3days. All of our staff work remotely. Why did you advertise with 2to3days? Initially, I advertised the position on one of the larger recruitment sites. We had taken on more projects and I didn’t know where to look for staff. We just got inundated with completely the wrong people. It wasn’t what we wanted and was really a waste of time and money. I was literally pulling my hair out trying to find good sales managers. When my wife came back and told me about 2to3days I knew it was the answer. I totally got the concept. We have 3 children and my wife had taken time out for them. If you’re ambitious or have got a good career you want to get back into it. When we placed an ad with the large recruitment site lots of young graduates applied who didn’t have the experience. Experience can be hugely underestimated. Placing an ad with 2to3days was a no-brainer for us; of course we’d take on those with experience who could do the job. We hired our first sales manager through 2to3days just before Christmas. I then placed another ad in January and hired three more sales managers. I had only intended to hire one mother, but I knew I would’ve been kicking myself had I let two go and they’d found work elsewhere, they were all that good! What are your views on flexible working? Flexible working is something that is important to me. When we started the company, sales were all face-to-face, people would see clients and sign them up. Now, a lot of business is done over the phone or by email. It works for us. And, as a parent I want to be involved; to be there for my children and see them in school productions or sporting events. Running my business flexibly makes sense on many levels and I want to offer my staff the same flexibility. We have to have trust in our team, and hiring someone who just gets it and is confident in their abilities is key to our success. Remoteness can be a challenge, you have got to treat people like grown-ups; our sales team are very experienced and they know exactly what they’re doing. We’ve always said if you want help or advice we’re here but otherwise, you will be left to your own devices if that’s the way you want to work. Our sales team of mothers talk to one another. It works really well, great advice is given and solutions are found between them. We also have more than one person working on the bigger projects, so there is a lot of teamwork involved, even if we don’t meet face to face. How has your sales team of mothers helped drive growth? I’m a big believer that it’s not the hours you do but what you do during those hours. Already, our team has driven business growth by achieving more upfront sales than before. We are totally confident in their abilities. Now we have the staff it’s our job to find them new projects, we want to keep people as busy as we can which is great for the company and our growth. I would definitely use 2to3days again now I know how it operates and I know the quality of people you’re going to get, for me it’s absolutely brilliant. I want more people to know about it. For a company like mine, it’s an absolute godsend!
Well that was a blast of fresh air! Our latest survey asked you to blow away the urban myths about mothers who work part-time. You certainly did that, and more, all 750 of you, who took the time to reply at the busiest time of year. Firstly, thank you so much for taking time out of cooking the turkey and wrapping the presents to give us your views, it really means a lot to us. It’s awesome that we have such an active, engaged community – and we would love to make more of this, so look out for our new campaign coming soon (hint hint!). The best news is that those of you who are out there in part-time roles or working more flexible hours feel extremely positive about your careers. You told us the top three reasons for wanting to work were: for the variety of work and family; missing the intellectual challenge; and financial reasons. 73% of you also told us you enjoy the different challenges of work and family and 66% of you think being a working parent is good role model behaviour for your children. You told us that your biggest priority is flexible working, with 51% saying this should be an option. A quarter said that you look for a trusting manager, while only 7% want a salary that recognises your skills. You are a highly skilled bunch, with 71% of you having a Bachelor’s degree and a further 25% having a Master’s degree – but despite this only 4% of you said being paid fairly was among your top priorities, coming in well below reliable childcare, a supportive partner and a supportive corporate culture or manager. 85% of you are looking for roles at middle management or higher level, and if we succeed in finding roles to suit your skills and experience we will go a long way to moving the dial on the well-known issues with talent pipeline in the higher level of companies where women in senior roles are too thin on the ground. While 62% of you say their relationships with co-workers have changed as they don’t spend as much time in the office, 28% of you felt that nothing had changed. The remaining 10% say things have improved as you value your time spent in the office more. And it’s good to see that 69% of you talk freely about your children at work, although 31% try to maintain some distance between home and office by not speaking about them too much. Far from conforming to the stereotypical image of “part-timer,” 58% of you told us that you work over and above your contracted hours every week, and only 4% of respondents said you did not work outside of your contracted hours). Despite this, 32 per cent thought that the hours didn’t matter as long as the job is done. A massive 98% of you want to work part-time, and here at 2to3days we will support you in that as much as we can. In return we hope you will help us spread the word about the benefits of flexible working – together we can make the changes that we all want to see!
Our latest survey results are in, and we are as thrilled as ever at the amazingly diverse, dispersed and talented bank of mothers we have! During November we asked our mothers what their ideal job would be, as our job at 2to3days.com is to help locate the opportunities our mothers are looking for and show our employers the talent they can tap into – all around the country. From Aberdeen to Bristol, Cheshire to Dorset and all corners of the UK, and in every business sector, our mothers are oozing talent with razor sharp skills and relevant experience, ready to become a valuable asset to the enlightened company that snaps them up. Where and when do our mothers want to work? 2to3days.com has a database packed with talent in every corner of the UK, with 80% of our bright mothers looking to work in an office balanced with some work done from home. A relatively small 14% of our mothers want to work just from home and 6% solely from an office. As flexible means many different things, we asked how many hours our mothers wanted to work, and most of them want to work between 24 and 30 hours a week - which is 24-30 hours of quality, focused brain power targeted on transforming businesses for the better. Our mothers have worked long and hard before having their children, have gained valuable experience across a variety of industries, and are now keen to apply that valuable experience to businesses right across the country. They don’t want to come in and cruise the internet on your time – they come with focused energy and motivation to do a great job as it means the world to them. Although large numbers of mothers are based in or around major cities, there are also, unsurprisingly, large numbers in rural locations, which is great news for companies who struggle to recruit outside cities, or for entrepreneurs who have set up their businesses in less urban locations to have more of a work life balance. Whatever your business, the mothers are there – right under your noses! What size of company are our mothers looking for? When it comes to size of company, again our mothers are looking across the board, with the most favoured size of company those with 51-250 employees. Only an eyebrow-raising 4% of mothers want to work for large corporations With our mothers reluctant to join those very corporations where gender pay gap reporting will start to highlight lack of women in senior management roles and broken talent pipelines, and with anecdotal evidence suggesting some larger corporations are not providing the work-life balance our mothers are seeking, it seems there is a message there that larger companies would do well not to ignore. And there is a definitely a message here for medium-sized companies that they can find resourceful talented women who are actively seeking roles with them – and which company wouldn’t like their recruitment challenges solved in this way? What skills and which sectors are our mothers ready to rock? A report this year from CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development) bemoaned the much publicised skills gap the UK is facing, with 14% of employers reporting skills gaps in their existing workforce as well as highlighting the fact that almost ¼; of job vacancies last year remained unfilled due to a ‘widening skills crisis’ across the UK. That’s not the experience of the employers who are using our site! If employers are struggling to fill roles they should look at our mothers, who can work in all areas, private and public sector, from Finance to HR and Marketing to Sales. We have mothers who want to work as HR Managers, as Marketing Directors, as Risk Analysts and Lawyers – senior professional mothers who could delight the choosiest employers. We asked our mothers to name the company they would love to work for – here are the top ten results: RBS Barclays JP Morgan American Express Google Ebay John Lewis Sweaty Betty Joules Cancer Research Our mothers are keen to work for companies who will value them on results and contribution rather than simply on hours spent at work, and are targeting companies in sectors as diverse as Tech and Retail, Charity and Banking – wherever your vacancy, give our mothers a shot at filling it; let’s stop ignoring the hidden talent pool which could transform your business. The CBI recognises that tackling the skills gap is a ‘top business priority’. The most common skill seen to be lacking in candidates was the ability to manage their own time and to prioritise tasks. Well hello?!! If ever there was a strong case for some joined up thinking, let’s look to mothers, who have this skill in spades, to fill some of these gaps and make businesses soar. The one key metric that makes employing a highly skilled and ambitious mother a 'no-brainer' to an employer Mothers want ambitious careers, without compromising on family and while doing meaningful and valuable work on their own terms. We need to challenge the status quo now and make flexible arrangements work as we know they really can. Women calling out for senior part-time roles should hear employers calling right back at them and valuing their skills and ability to perform. We need to change that old-fashioned mind-set we are so tired of hearing, and realise that our mothers can be brilliant for any company. With qualities such as experience, efficiency and ability alongside dedication, motivation and loyalty, where else would you find over 13,000 women wanting to make a positive difference to businesses who get the message? Just a couple of ‘no-brainer’ answers from our survey should help to drive home this very important message: Loyalty & commitment - a mother comes with a wealth of experience from previous employment & life as a mum. We have less time but we will be 100% committed during our working hours. A mother has dedication to a workplace that respects the importance of family and a healthy work-life balance. Women who juggle motherhood with work have to be ambitious. Why would you not want all that energy in your business? At 2to3days.com we are building a community of engaged bright women, ready and willing to work. This latest survey shows these talented mothers are right under your noses, willing, ready and very able, so come on employers - this could be the best hire you ever make!
I have just been part of something life-changing. Along with 269 other volunteers from across the UK I flew to Cape Town last week with the charity Mellon Educate where, in 7 days, we built 13 new classrooms, 2 toilet blocks, 1 kitchen, 2 sun shelters with tables and a seating area and renovated 7 other buildings and 2 playgrounds at 2 different locations in Khayelitsha, South Africa’s second largest township – wow! I am exhausted but elated. How did we do it? Each day started with a 5:45 wakeup call. By 6:15am we were down for breakfast and by 7am we were on the bus and by 7:30am (latest) we were all hard at work and did not stop until 5:30pm, apart from a really quick lunch and tea breaks! I personally worked with a small painting team where we painted fifteen 6ft high bookcases (four times each), eleven blackboards (twice each) the perimeter fence around the playground as well as about fifteen windows! I also learned how to plaster a wall and build a long table and benches all out of blockwork. I have never ever worked so hard in all of my life and loved every single minute of it. The pace of work was incredible, the sun shone brightly and strongly all day and for two days we coped with high winds known as the ‘Cape Doctor’. But never once did the banter or high spirits falter or the team camaraderie drop. It was unforgettable to work with such a group of people, 98% of whom I had never met before – the team spirit was exceptional as we were all joined together by a higher purpose to help severely impoverished children whose lives are simply desperate have the chance of an education. As Nelson Mandela famously said – “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world’. Last week we gave 2,700 children the chance of a good education so that their hopes and dreams can come true as that is all they have – their hopes and dreams. Living in Khayelitsha This township is one of the most dangerous places to live in South Africa. We were therefore privileged to be shown around. Their living conditions are simply barbaric – thousands upon thousands of flimsy shacks built out of rusty old corrugated iron sit cheek by jowl offering little relief from the weather or any form of security. On average each shack is home to a family of seven (spanning three generations many of the children are orphans) as well as rats, mice and countless germs. Forget running water or any form of sanitation – one working light bulb if you are lucky! They live in fear of their lives, but the children skip eagerly to school each day as here they get two meals a day and the chance of a future. So, what next? I have made the decision to commit my time to Mellon Educate to reach their dream of educating 100,000 impoverished African children so I will be going back, and in 5 and 7 years’ time the plan is to take both my children when they have turned 16 years old. I would love to thank every single person who sponsored me so generously – I can assure you 100% that every single penny went straight into building the schools and if you would like to join me next year then please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org as I would love nothing more than to take a group of mothers from 2to3days. Action is the only way to make your dreams come true - you just need to take the first step, and then the next!
We have six months to go before new UK legislation will see companies with more than 250 people having to report on the size of their gender pay gap. Companies will need to report not only on pay by gender, but also on the gender bonus gap, and most tellingly on the proportion of men and women working in each quantile of the organisation’s pay distribution. By making salaries more transparent and more comparable, we can shine a light on just where the talent pipeline is broken, and why in particular fewer women work in senior management roles. This will highlight the gaps that need to be plugged and courses corrected, enabling more women to make a significant difference to their companies – after all, companies with greater diversity at board level have been seen to outperform those without. While companies will have a year before they have to report in April 2018, more enlightened employers will be tackling the issues now - identifying and understanding their gaps, putting an action plan in place to address key issues. From companies we have spoken to, we understand that major gaps will be seen at senior level, where the solution is to offer part-time work to experienced women who are ready to come back to work after children, balance work with family life and make a contribution on results rather than effort. Here’s an opportunity to get ahead of the game in the fight to get the best and brightest candidates to fill roles right across their companies. So how did we end up here? Paying women less than men for exactly the same role isn’t the point. Where men may want more money, women may need to give more value to flexibility, leaving, as Anne-Marie Slaughter has identified, the ‘care penalty’ as the main driver of gender inequality. Women’s pay is a good 95% match to men’s until you add caring, and therefore part-time hours into the mix. That’s when the inherent assumptions kick in – you may be given worse projects, you can’t or won’t travel, you can’t work longer hours; this all leads to fewer opportunities and a hard drop in value. We can all fall for the gender differences and bias that we find in history, with cultural and social causes, and be affected by them either consciously or unconsciously. Girls might be led by parents and teachers into particular careers seen as traditional, female-dominated low-paying occupations; lack of affordable childcare prevents many women working after children, and they are still the main takers of ‘shared parental leave’. Lack of equal pay implies a difference in value between men and women’s work, undermining confidence and punting a society-wide belief that men’s work is more valuable. Women may not be as ready as men to bargain on salary or flexibility: “The gender pay gap is not all down to the Institutions – women are notoriously bad at negotiating for their salaries. If you know that your Limiting Beliefs hold you back in pay reviews, get yourself into the right mindset – be firm, fair and believe in your worth. And if you find it difficult to stand up for yourself, remember that, like a man in the family, you are also a ‘provider’- your salary counts and is not just a nice to have. It also helps to think of negotiating on your children's behalf, not just yourself. Women are much better at fighting other people’s corners!” Cara Moore, women’s career coach and champion, www.caramoore.co.uk Let’s kick out the bias and embrace a new business mindset, where everyone gets valued on their output rather than the hours they work – that way we all get to reach our full potential. Demanding more transparency from businesses will leave no place for workplace gender inequality to hide. In today’s changing work climate it is well overdue that we explode the myths and blitz the motherhood penalty. What can we do now? The time for quiet acceptance of these double standards is over. The World Economic Forum’s 2016 Global Gender Pay Gap Report showed that the gap will reduce organically – in about 170 years. We can’t afford to wait that long – and we shouldn’t have to. And as addressing the gender pay gap could add £150bn to the UK economy by 2025, none of us can afford to wait either. We need to take action now to close the gap: Equalise leave entitlements Enable men to do more caring and normalise their involvement Advertise all jobs as flexible unless there is a good business reason not to Get women into higher paid roles What is stopping you promoting flexibility? If you don’t want to miss out on potentially the best candidates, if you want to see how increased diversity from the top down can improve your business results, as an employer you need to start addressing this now. If gender pay gap reporting will highlight particular gaps in your organisation, areas where your talent pipeline is not working as it should be, then take a look at our range of very strong candidates. We have some fabulous talent on our books at 2to3days across a range of industries and at all levels of experience. Don’t risk being named and shamed – seize this positive opportunity to put your company ahead of the wave, gain competitive advantage and score the best and brightest candidates before your competitors do. We can help you find qualified candidates quickly and easily: our satisfied employers are consistently impressed with the calibre of this growing pool of talented mothers. 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At the beginning of the year, Citrix sponsored a report from Lancaster University which identified 2017 as the tipping point of flexible work becoming the expected norm, rather than the exception for a specific few. With 50% of companies working flexibly by 2017, and a projected 70% of companies adopting flexible work by 2020 (Working Anywhere by the Work Foundation), this report reinforces the trajectory of the majority of companies reaching a point where flexible work is a real phenomenon which becomes unstoppable. The pace of change has increased over the past few months. We need to turn up the dial and spin the conversation around, so that we are talking about the benefits and advantages for business that can be clearly noted from a raft of research. With campaigns, legislation and research all pointing to the benefits of flexible work, with technology facilitating collaboration and workplace flexibility, what is blocking wider adoption? Making flexible work Voices have been getting louder this year in calling for a shift in thinking about flexible work. Over the last couple of months we have seen a series of research and campaigns, all raising their voices in the belief that flexible working is the way forward and calling for more support to make this happen – and now. October’s National Work Life Balance Week 2016 gave an opportunity for employers to showcase their flexible working policies and practices, and saw the launch of the annual benchmarking survey Top Employers for working families, which highlights some excellent examples of where flexible work is transforming the work and lives of employers and employees alike. At the same time, The Equality and Human Rights Commission has launched a new national campaign, led by British business, and designed to make workplaces the best they can be for pregnant women and new mothers. A coalition of businesses, leading the way on pregnancy and maternity rights for employees, will share advice, knowledge, and expertise with their peers. At the recent Conservative Party Conference, Theresa May announced a major review of workers’ rights, saying she wants to be certain that employment regulation and practices are keeping pace with the changing world of work, including the growth of part-time work and the use of self-employed staff by companies such as Uber and Deliveroo. And individual campaigns from companies supporting flexible work, such as #Hirememyway and #Workthatworks, are driving awareness by highlighting issues such as the potential £62.5 billion boost to the UK economy that more widespread flexible work could bring. Let's talk about business perception The real debate now must tackle company culture and perception, as the evidence is stacked in favour of flexible work being the best way forward for companies as well as individuals. What can we do further to highlight the benefits of a motivated, energised and effective workforce waiting to make a positive impact within a flexible work pattern? While many employers are convinced of the benefits and the great match between the current business climate and committed flexible workers, barriers remain. Some employers have a fear of change in the workplace, are concerned that managers and supervisors are ill equipped to manage flexible workers, are worried about the abuse of policies, or the fear that treating all employees equally might lead to a fully part-time workforce. On the contrary, introduced as a key part of your business strategy, a robust implementation of flexible work will make a major contribution to your business and in turn your bottom line. With careful planning, training managers in how to supervise and develop flexible workers, and trust on both sides, the barriers are clearly floored by the benefits. And the quality of the candidates you will open your doors to will improve your chances of making exactly the right hires to drive your business success. Where do we go from here? Availability of technology is driving the change, individuals are increasingly seeing the benefits and the appeal, but organisations hold the key to making it happen. Rather than seeing the requests for flexible working as a challenge to the status quo, employers need to embrace and instigate flexible working as a positive move. Which company wouldn’t want increased productivity, improved employee well-being, the ability to attract and retain the best talent, and reduction in costs? What we really need now is strong and enlightened leadership to set a culture of trust and enablement combined with a focus on results rather than presenteeism. Learn lessons from the early adopters and the innovators, but don’t get left behind as working culture tips towards flexible work being mainstream. Be part of the solution With all the hard evidence of these positive examples, where are companies looking when it comes to solving issues such as the chronic shortage of talent and the need to be increasingly competitive in a difficult and rapidly-changing business environment? Where senior leaders champion flexible work practices, their companies are in a better position to meet changing demands from many sectors of the population, and will be best placed to attract and retain the best talent. Companies have not known where to find really good part-time talent, and that’s where we have proved we can help; for small businesses right through to large internationals, we have a highly-qualified and motivated part-time mother for you. When an independent Canadian recruitment company was launching in the UK they came to us and found exactly the calibre of candidate they were looking for: “2to3days.com was perfectly positioned to assist TalentSphere Recruitment in our expansion into the UK market by connecting us with exceptional talent”. McDonald Butler, a strategic B2B sales and marketing agency specialising in the IT and technology sector, were overwhelmed by the quality of applicants for a recently advertised role as HR Manager, and were able to choose the best candidate from a very strong shortlist. Deloitte and Lloyd’s have recently been seeking roles across the country via the 2to3days site, and are finding they can tap into our highly-qualified talent pool to fill their specific vacancies. We do have the best-qualified mothers seeking out roles, across a range of experience, location, and industries. And with our interactive dashboard the streamlined advertising process will save you time and effort. Employers who change their perceptions and act now will give themselves a competitive advantage, and as higher visibility leads to better understanding and wider adoption, strong leadership with careful planning, education and trust will continue to realise the business benefits of tapping into this highly skilled workforce. Do you need great brains in your business? And do you need them on a part-time basis? At 2to3days.com we have over 12,000 members seeking and providing flexible opportunities across a wide range of businesses. We can help you find qualified candidates quickly and easily: our satisfied employers are consistently impressed with the calibre of this growing pool of talented mothers. From only £300 + vat for a month’s advertising, why not find out more and place an advert today?