Labour Pains: Juggling Family and Career a Challenge for Working Mothers


    Workopolis poll reveals that one quarter of employers don't offer any
    additional options to make the transition back to work easier for moms

    TORONTO, May 10 /CNW/ - The increased participation of women in the work
force has been one of the most significant social trends in Canada in the past
quarter century. But, according to a recent study by Workopolis, Canada's
leading provider of internet recruitment and job search solutions, working
mothers are struggling to find the right balance between work and family.
    According to the survey released today, one-quarter (25 per cent) of
working mothers report their employers don't offer any additional options to
make the transition back to work easier for moms. But what would make working
life more manageable for this group is the option to have flexible working
hours, on-site daycare and the ability to work from home on occasion.
    "Every mother is a working mother," said Andrea Garson, Vice President of
Human Resources, Workopolis, and mother of a seven year old daughter. "But for
super moms who work outside the home, juggling family and career can bring
special challenges. Savvy employers are realizing that the current employment
market and corresponding labor shortages are making it more important than
ever to recognize the needs of working mothers, and are putting plans in place
in order to continuously attract and retain key talent."

    What employers are doing to help ease the transition back to work

    To help with the return to the office, nearly half of working moms
(48 per cent) revealed that their employers provide flexible work hours, which
for many mothers means enough time to make everyone's lunches and still arrive
at work on time. The option of an extended maternity leave is also high on the
list of benefits employers are providing for moms - one in five (20 per cent)
working moms took a little extra time at home before the return to the office.Other solutions employers are offering to help with work and home life
balance:
    -   Job sharing - 14 per cent
    -   Portable technologies (laptop, BlackBerry) - 13 per cent
    -   Working from home - 9 per cent
    -   On-site daycare - 6 per centEmployers in Quebec, however, seem to be embracing the extended mat leave
option even more so than their counterparts across the country. One-third of
working moms in Quebec report that their employers offered extra maternity
leave.

    But what do moms want?

    Not surprisingly, flexible working hours is also the number one desire of
working mothers with one third (32 per cent) citing this as their most
preferred option to help balance their hectic schedules. On-site daycare moves
well up on the ranks as the number two position with 13 per cent of moms
indicating this is what they would most prefer to make things a bit less of a
struggle.
    More employers are offering extended mat leave options than there are
working moms who are interested, with only 10 per cent putting this at the top
of their list.

    The boardroom vs. the laundry room

    Too often, mothers are forced to choose between putting in the long hours
to meet deadlines and watching their daughter's debut in the school play. More
than one-quarter (27 per cent) of working mothers surveyed feel their number
one challenge is time away from their family. Being taken seriously as a
working mother is a challenge for nearly one in 10 (9 per cent). But above all
else, mothers responded that they just don't have enough time in the day to
keep up with the household chores. Nearly 40 per cent expressed this as being
a true test.
    "Diversity in the workforce brings diversity of thought, which increases
a business's competitive advantage," said Garson. "If a lot of working mothers
decided, 'The challenges of trying to make both a career and home life work
are just too overwhelming, it would be a lot easier if just stayed home,' the
economy of this country would come to a grinding halt."

    The greatest rewards

    More than half of all working moms feel the financial contribution they
bring to their family is the biggest reward (52 per cent) of juggling a job
and a family. Three in ten (29 per cent) indicated that job satisfaction was
their greatest reward, and another 10 per cent said that the best motivation
was the fact that working outside of the home makes them a better mother to
their children.How moms can make work, "work":

    -   Establish a support system - 29 per cent of working moms recommend
        giving up the I-can-do-it-all-myself mentality. Accept help from
        their partners, family members and friends, and seek out other
        working mothers who can offer additional tips and tricks.

    -   Set the stage before you return to the office - be sure to discuss
        your work-life balance priorities and responsibilities with your boss
        and set some ground rules before the first day back at work.

    -   Stop the spillover of work into home - everyone takes the occasional
        work call from home, but make sure your mind is on work when you're
        in the office, and your mind is on home life when you shut down your
        computer at the end of the day.

    -   Make technology work for you - trying to be in two places at one time
        can be tricky so use tools like PDA's and laptops to your advantage.

    -   Don't be afraid to say "no" - being a working mother means you're
        pulled in many directions. Decide how much you are willing to stretch
        boundaries and then be consistent.

    -   Find a family-friendly workplace - don't forget you've got options
        and can always look elsewhere if you're not getting the support you
        need to make it all work. Most importantly, do what makes you happy"Mother's Day is right around the corner and I'm sure like me, most
working mothers would appreciate the gift of a little extra time," said
Garson. "My advice to them would be to try to slow down and simplify as much
as possible."

    About Workopolis

    Workopolis is Canada's largest and most popular Internet recruiting and
job search solutions provider with over 3 million unique visitors monthly in
Canada and twice as many job postings as the nearest competitor.Workopolis provides a fully bilingual suite of award-winning applications,
products and services to both large and small Canadian companies:
    -   workopolis.com(TM), Canada's biggest job site-with the most jobs,
        visitors and employers of any Canadian job site
    -   workopolisCampus.com, Canada's biggest job site for students and
        recent graduates
    -   CorporateWorks(TM), Canada's most implemented recruitment management
        solution using the tools that power workopolis.com to power corporate
        career sitesWorkopolis is a partnership of Toronto Star Newspapers Ltd. and Gesca
Ltd., the newspaper publishing subsidiary of Power Corporation of Canada.
Workopolis has offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Guelph,
Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Halifax.
    Workopolis is the exclusive Official Supplier of Online Recruitment
Services for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

    About the poll: The poll was conducted by Decima Research between
    April 19th and April 30th, 2007 via a national omnibus telephone survey
    among a representative sample of 219 working Canadian mothers. The
    margin of error is +/-6.6%.




For further information: Amy Davidson, Environics Communications, (416)
969-2830; Jill Anzarut, Environics Communications, (416) 969-2708