How I planned my career for my return to work

How I planned my career for my return to work

A few years ago I started planning to have a baby. My goals were probably a little more unconventional than those of most young women. I concentrated on ensuring I would be of such value to the company they would welcome my request for flexibility when I returned to work.

I worked hard and involved myself in every part of the business, even outside my skill set. I formed strong relationships with everyone in the group, from entry level to local senior management, and I built my global management relationships. I worked collaboratively with all departments to create an interdependent working style with me. I strived for promotions and won salary increases based on performance, so that when I came back in a job share role, a pro rata salary would be sufficient to support my family. I built strong networks externally and shared them with my employer, contributing to raising our CSR score by 30% in 12 months. I invested in upskilling and became a vocational education trainer to supplement my income should that be necessary (having first established that there was plenty of casual and part time work in the training industry).

Think I’m crazy?

One in five mothers report that their roles were made redundant or their departments restructured while they were on maternity leave. The Australian Human Rights Commission reports that 49% of mothers experience discrimination in the workplace at some point. Discrimination in the form of loss of opportunities for further training and career advancement, reduction in pay and conditions, as well as redundancy and job loss, are prevalent.

My newsfeed is flooded with articles on the under-representation of women at the C suite level. Australian business has many more Johns than Janes in management, according to OECD figures. I want to help change these statistics and challenge companies to examine what are they doing to facilitate career paths for women. I’ve done everything I can for myself, yet when I search for substantial job share opportunities in my field they are non-existent. I am over-qualified for the part-time roles available. And the few part-time roles for women at my seniority level have requirements that could be achieved only by a full time employee. No wonder skilled and talented women drop out of the workforce.

I am challenging corporate Australia to facilitate job share arrangements to keep women in the workforce and – by providing a supportive career path – ensure these women grow and develop into valued employees who are assets for their companies.

At Gemini3 we will create, fill and sustain job share opportunities.