Companies Turn to Part-Time Working Moms to Combat Financial Downturn

As the country continues to inch its way out of the recession we are finding that businesses are taking dramatically different approaches to returning to profitability. One of the ways that organizations are seeking to turn the corner is by hiring on a limited or part-time basis — and many are looking beyond the traditional list of candidates. In fact, a recent global study of over 11,000 corporations across 15 countries commissioned by Regus, the global provider of innovative workplace solutions, found that 44 percent of companies worldwide plan to hire more mothers for part-time jobs over the next two years.

Regus Survey Results
Key Findings

-¢ 46 percent of U.S. businesses reported they will recruit more part-time working mothers.

-¢ 47 percent of larger companies (more than 1,000 employees) expect to recruit more part-time mothers in their workplaces.

-¢ 39 percent of smaller firms expect to see more part-time workers, less than any other size bracket.

-¢ Media and Marketing businesses have the greatest level of hiring expectations at 51 percent.


The study found that among U.S. firms, 46 percent reported plans to recruit more mothers into their workplaces over the next two years.

The findings indicate that the American work culture overall is eager to support the balance between work and family responsibilities.

As businesses worldwide take tentative steps toward recovery, we are starting to see the emergence of shifting workplace strategies. Businesses have learned that adhering to a rigid 9-to-5, five-days-a-week mentality with no room for flexibility can mean sacrificing talented workers -“ and in a time when companies are focusing on cutting costs and maximizing profitability, firms can’t afford to operate without the best and brightest talent available.

But while companies are starting to slowly reverse their hiring freezes, we still face numerous challenges in making the workplace suitably flexible for part-time workers. The Society for Human Resource Management found that only 35 percent of American companies offer health insurance for part-time employees, just 16 percent of businesses offer job-sharing, and only 11 percent offer stress reduction programs.

While we have seen that companies intend to take on more mothers as part of their strategy to combat the financial downturn, there is much work to be done in making the transition from maternity leave back to the workforce as smooth as possible. Allowing mothers to take advantage of workplace flexibility demonstrates an understanding of the challenges that they face and paves the way for them to be more productive and less stressed at work.

One of the most significant factors in improving employees’ work-life balance is offering the flexibility to work remotely, full or part-time. Flexible workplace solutions are now available that allow corporations to offer those mothers returning to the workforce the ability to work full or part-time from home, along with a whole host of other workplace possibilities. By taking advantage of such measures, businesses worldwide will be better positioned to attract and retain the most talented personnel to their working environments.

The Regus Business Tracker surveyed over 11,000 business respondents from 13 countries from the Regus global contacts database during August and September 2009. The Regus global contacts database of over 1 million business-people worldwide is highly representative of senior managers and owners in service businesses across the globe. In this research project, respondents were asked about their hiring intentions with regards to new mothers returning to part-time work over the next two years. The survey was managed and administered by the independent organisation, MarketingUK.

Jeff Doughman is vice president of the Central Region for Regus Group Americas. Regus offers a full range of fully furnished and equipped offices, meeting rooms, business lounges, videoconferencing facilities, and supporting services. Jeff can be reached at [email protected].

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Richard Blanchard
Rick is the Managing Editor of Corp! magazine. He has worked in reporting and editing roles at the Port Huron Times Herald, Lansing State Journal and The Detroit News, where he was most recently assistant business editor. A native of Michigan, Richard also worked in Washington state as a reporter, photographer and editor at the Anacortes American. He received a bachelor of arts from the University of Michigan and a master’s in accountancy from the University of Phoenix.