Back to Work: 85% of Working Mothers Who Stopped Working During the Pandemic Now Plan To Rejoin the Workforce

LONDON (6 July 2021) – New research from TopCV, the world's largest CV-writing service, reveals that 85 per cent of working mothers whose jobs were adversely affected during the pandemic are now looking to rejoin the workforce. 

This data follows earlier findings from TopCV which revealed that nearly two-thirds of working mothers either stopped working (40%) or reduced their hours (19%) since the start of the pandemic – largely due to childcare obligations. 

With many of these women now looking to return to the workforce, TopCV asked what matters most when deciding what job to take next. Historically, “salary and bonus” and “career progression” have ranked as the top two criteria. However, these considerations were pushed to third and fourth place respectively, in favour of a “flexible schedule” and “company culture”, with 25 per cent citing a flexible working schedule as their No. 1 priority. 

Amanda Augustine, careers expert at TopCV, commented:

“It's clear that many working women have discovered during the pandemic that in order to be a good worker and a good mother, they require more flexibility from employers. A flexible working schedule can mean different things to different individuals. Some may wish to work remotely on a part-time or full-time basis, while others may be more interested in modifying their work day's start and end times or having the freedom to pop out of the office or go offline, when necessary, to take their son to the doctor or attend their daughter's recital without fearing repercussions." 

"Employers who offer various flexible work arrangements will not only attract a more gender-diverse candidate pool, but they'll also show their current employees who are working parents that they understand – and care – about their needs."

For those working mothers who are seeking employment with 'parent-friendly' companies, Augustine suggests the following: 

  • Look for top-rated employers: When researching potential employers, visit company review websites such as Glassdoor or InHerSight to see which organisations have been recognised for offering greater flexibility for its workers. You can also seek out lists like these from Working Parent and Great Place to Work which list the top 'parent-friendly' companies in the UK. In addition, look for vacancies that list the location as 'Remote' or employers who advertise flexibility and work-life balance on its corporate careers page.

  • Consider the company makeup: You can tell a lot about a company based on who comprises its employee directory. Take a look at the corporate website and on LinkedIn to learn the current makeup of both the senior leadership and the team you'd join. The more gender-diverse, the better.

  • Turn to your network: Before applying for a position, always check your network for contacts who currently or previously worked at the organisation. These connections can help you determine if the employer is right for you and, if so, offer insight that will allow you to navigate the company's application and interview process with confidence.

  • Consider the interview a two-way conversation: Be prepared to ask as many questions as you expect to answer during the interview process to ensure a prospective employer can offer you the flexibility you need to succeed. For example, ask your interviewer whether the company's stance on working from home has changed as a result of the pandemic and what flexible working arrangements employees can expect moving forward. You can also ask less direct questions about the rhythm of the work, the technology it uses for communication and collaboration, and its company culture to learn how well the company truly embraces its working parents.

  • Search for clues: Regardless of where your interview takes place, be on the lookout for clues that will indicate whether or not the company is parent-friendly. For example, if you're visiting the corporate headquarters, do you see signs for a facilities for breastfeeding mums or an onsite nursery? Are their children's drawings or family photos displayed either in employees' cubicles or within view of your interviewer's camera during a Zoom interview?

— ENDS —

Between 8 March and 20 April 2021, TopCV surveyed 1,017 UK professionals to find out how the pandemic had affected their roles as workers and parents. The questions asked, responses and percentage of respondents for those who identified as female primary caregivers to children under the age of 18 are as follows:

Have you left the workforce since the pandemic began?

  • Yes, I'm currently not working – 40%

  • No, but I've reduced the number of hours I work – 19%

  • No, I'm still working – 41%

What is the main reason you stopped working during this time?

  • I was laid off and/or fired and am still looking for a new job – 61%

  • I quit my job because it didn't financially make sense to work while paying someone to take care of the kids – 15%

  • I quit my job and/or took a sabbatical to accommodate my children's education – 15%

  • I was laid off and/or fired and have decided to put my career on hold until the market improves/kids go back to school full time – 9%

Are you planning to return to the workforce?

  • Yes – 85% *Of those looking to go back to work, 93% want to return within the next 6 months, 4% within the 7-12 months, and 3% are not sure about their timeline at the time of the survey. 

  • No, I plan to remain at home as a full-time caregiver for the time being – 15%

Media contact

Katharina Wolf / Caroline Fletcher
  • About TopCV

    TopCV, a Talent Inc. company, is the world’s premier CV-writing service, analysing millions of CVs and LinkedIn profiles each year. Job seekers work directly with professional writers and industry experts to redefine their personal brand and stand out from the crowd during the job-search process. Follow TopCV on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter.

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Media contact

Katharina Wolf / Caroline Fletcher