Three Super Flexible Jobs for Mothers

Flexible jobs for mothers“I believe that women should live for love, for motherhood and for intellect, and I believe we shouldn’t have to choose.” – Erica Jong, Writer

Experiencing a successful career is a remarkable achievement. Likewise, motherhood brings with it adventures that open up to a whole new world of delight. The two, however, are often thought to be mutually exclusive when in fact motherhood is not something that calls for a resignation of all our ambitions. Sure, there are bound to be challenges balancing both career and parenting, but the balance is not impossible; which is why we salute the women who are so successful at it.

So how are astute working mothers achieving their best of both worlds? According to a survey by FlexJobs, 97% of parents prefer a work-from-home job or one with a flexible schedule because it would help them be a better parent. 

For all those who agree, here are three super flexible jobs that have helped professional mothers achieve the balance they seek. We have also thrown in some tips about the job industries to get you started.

1)    Pharmaceutical Reps

A 2011 survey by CareerBliss found that pharmaceutical sales positions ranked as the happiest for working mothers and was the second highest paying for women according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This consensus is still valid today with the growth rate for pharmacists predicted to reach 14% by 2022.

“Pharmaceutical workers are offered high pay, a flexible environment, the feeling of being rewarded at work, and good, well-educated managers,” says Heidi Golledge, CEO and co-founder of CareerBliss.

Tips to getting into the pharmaceutical industry:

  • Having a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy is excellent if you want to enter this field, but surveys have shown that labour force participation had an 81.5% rate even without that particular degree. Consider enrolling for online courses that will add value to your resume.
  • Do research on companies and consider how you are able to fit the role. Working Mothers has a good read that lists some of the Best Companies in Health Care & Pharma, which offered creative flex and family-friendly practices that make them employers of choice”, especially for working mothers.
  • Equip yourself with all the information you can get on the job role; the Australian Medicines Information Training Workbook is an excellent guide to prepare you.

2)    Realtor / Appraiser

Realty is a viable option for mothers, though good sales skills and a good eye for property is a must. Qualifications will depend on the state you live in, but the required certificate or creditation is easily obtainable and often come with options for home-study. This makes it easier for mothers to decide how quickly they want to get back to the workforce.

Take for example Anna Altic, a mother of two and an entrepreneur who has built a thriving realty business. Anna wanted to work and yet dreaded the thought of getting back to a 50-hours work week in corporate. That’s where she realised real estate was a good fit and built her business from thereon.

Roberta Hoskie is another great example – a mother of three, she went from living on welfare, to owning her own million dollar realty business.

Tips to getting into the real estate industry:

  • Though you may not need special qualifications to be a realtor, it’s still essential that you do adequate prep work and read up on all provisions that you can avail of when it comes to property in your locality.
  • Keep your eye out for good property and link with someone you know who can refurbish properties that can help you get a better deal on houses.

3)    Writer/ Editor/ Blogger

If you have great writing skills, consider this. A publishing/editorial background is an added bonus of course, but not strictly necessary. Nearly every company has a need for good quality content in the form of blogs, press releases, articles and social media posts – so there is no dearth of work.

“Go for it. Go for the kids. Go for the career. Don’t give up your dreams. Don’t give up time with your kids. And no matter what you do, listen to yourself,” says Helga Schier, who chose to become a freelance literary editor for its flexibility and has made quite a success of her choice.

Tips to getting into the journalism industry:

  • Start a blog on a subject you care about. This could be on a subject that you are already familiar with, e.g parenting. You could even start by joining communities like Australian Mummy blogs. While there are loads of mum communities that will lend support if you choose to write on topics related to motherhood, do note that this market already has its own share of parents sharing experiences. So, we suggest that you find a passionate topic to blog about and stick to that. Good blogging can earn you awards in prominent circles like the Circle of Moms and Top baby blogs, which have the potential to further catapult your reputation as a writer/blogger.
  • Write queries, send letters of introduction, connect with editors, and build your brand on social media.
  • Sign up on writer’s forums like Freelance Writer’s Den, which provide platforms to seek work and learn about the writing business.

These are just three of the many flexible options available for mothers; we would love to hear from you if you have found success in any other areas.


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What Hinders Organisations From Building a Diverse Workforce?

What hinders organisations from building a diverse workforce?The benefits of having a diverse workforce are immense but according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in 2011, labour force participation rate of females at 65% is much lower than the 80% for males in the same age group. It has not changed much since then.

Why does this gender imbalance still exist in the workplace and what can be done about it?

Importance of gender diversity at work

By limiting diversity parameters, employers effectively limit the number of candidates and their chances of finding the right person for the job. A fully diverse workforce communicates an organisation’s commitment to equality and makes you a choice employer. This also converts into high retention rates.

According to The Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM), if the UK is to remain competitive, UK employers will need to have recruited an additional 2.2 million new managers between 2007 and 2017”. This would be impossible if women, who make up 46% of the UK workforce, aren’t effectively included. A study by the Catalyst showed that companies with more women board directors showed a return on equity that was 53%, and a return on invested capital that was 66%, higher than companies with no female directors.

A survey was conducted of Australian employees by HAYS with regard to diversity in the workplace. 58% responded that they would like to see more diversity.

What are the obstacles to a diverse workforce?

Education and career choices

The number of women who opt for STEM subjects science, technology, mathematics and engineering is lower worldwide. This is unfortunate as these subjects are currently in demand in the labour market and will continue to be the required qualifications in growth industry sectors.

Mid-career drop

Studies consistently show a major drop in the number of women from the workforce mid- career. Consider the representation of this drop as shown in The Davies Report:

Lack of flexible hours, the “think leader, think male” phenomenon, and gender related stereotypes and bias’s affect the career growth of women.

Organisation Culture

Gender based barriers are one of the top reasons why companies lose female employees. A McKinsey study showed that 27% of women had experienced some form of gender-based discrimination in their role. An organisation that has predominantly male employees, which is most often the case in sectors like construction, mining and the sciences, also tends towards unconscious biases and gender stereotyping. This can adversely affect a woman’s role in an organisation forcing her to leave the labour market or not opt for leadership roles in the prime of her career.

What can be done?

A few steps in the right direction can go a long way in correcting the existing gender imbalance and creating a more diverse workforce.

1)    Encouraging young women to take up STEM subjects will go a long way in increasing the labour force of women. Organisations could take up the initiative to set up career guidance workshops in schools and universities with this aim.

2)    Implementing a clear cut, standardised organisation policy for hiring and retaining women, with emphasis on equal career progression opportunities. The inclusion of women in the interview panel at all levels of hiring has showed great results in many organisations.

3)    Developing or placing women in mentoring programs where they can benefit from the example and experience of women leaders.

4)    Intensifying the effort to remove unconscious bias among employees by fostering an equal opportunity culture within the organisation.

5)    Working with employees to understand the barriers to organisational culture by creating awareness at all levels. Making gender diversity a part of the organisation’s vision goes a long way in fostering a culture that actively works to rectify the gender imbalance.

Flexibility in working hours has been a popular suggestion to overcome these barriers. 62% of women in the USA feel that family obligations and reduced mobility are impediments to their career growth. Interestingly, an Ernst & Young study showed that women “working flexibly waste just 11.1 per cent of working hours, compared to 14.5 per cent of their full-time counterparts.” And …. make flexibility in working hours available to everyone not just women!

What do you think? Are there any steps you’ve taken within your organisation to correct gender imbalances in the workforce?


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