Returning to work after having a baby can be tricky – it’s something that every mum knows. As frustrating as it may sound, there isn’t much that mothers can do to change certain employers’ perceptions of their post-baby, career-related wishful thinking.
Aiming to establish the right connections between candidates and potential employers, Amir Reza was determined to apply 15 years of experience and an analytical approach to the recruitment landscape, and use them to help UAE residents, including mums.
Setting up shop in Dubai with Harmony Connections agency in 2012, he embarked on a journey – and he knew it was no easy one – but what can the founder tell working mums who are looking to get back to business?
“If you’ve taken a few years off as a stay-at-home mum, you need to make sure you’re really prepared to get back into the workforce,” says Reza.
“Unfortunately, gaps in a resume are often are frowned up on, as they represent inconsistency in your career. Unless you specify otherwise, people tend to assume the worst. It’s a good idea to mention the reason you were not employed, and this also applies for sabbaticals, illnesses, etc.” he adds.
According to Reza, you have three to six seconds to prove to the employer than your CV is worth it, as this is the amount of time they’ll take to glance over.
It’s also important to remember that the process is fairly hard work for employers as well. “In an ideal world, they shouldn’t face any challenges, however, employers will often have to spend time re-training mums, re-adjusting schedules and tasks to offer flexible work hours, providing child service or compensation for mummies to hire care and more,” he adds.
While time may have had no, or very little impact, on the capabilities of the mummy employee, employers will always need to take into consideration some factors. For example, the lifestyle of a fairly new mum who has just went back into the workforce after a considerable break would be different.
“Unfortunately, one major question asked by employers when considering a mum is ‘will they be efficient enough?’ – it’s a misconception among employers,” says Reza.
“It’s far more challenging to raise a newborn, as this is a 24/7 on-shift position with limited break times in between. The only thing, in my opinion, which employers need to allow new mums to do, is to be able to work flexible hours. Many companies have adopted such schedules for mums where, as long as they meet their targets of hours of work during the week, they can come and leave as they please,” he explains.
“In some multinationals abroad, this issue has almost been eradicated for mums. There are companies that offer on-site daycare services for their staff too, enabling them to have peace of mind that their baby is in the same building,” he adds.
With more and more mums re-entering the workforce after having kids – some of them thanks to companies that offer a helping hand, it’s looking more positive for UAE mothers every day. However, it’s crucial to always reach out to support networks, which may offer a new perspective.
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- When you go back to work, look at what you can do to lower your stress levels and communicate it to your manager.
- Set boundaries at home in regards to how much work you’ll be doing – whether it will be checking emails or more.
- Try to stay very organised at work so things don’t get out of hand and become more challenging.
- Take care of yourself and your health. Make sure you’re eating right and exercising.
- Make time to relax, whether it be by doing yoga, reading a book or going to the spa.