How can you restart a career with a new baby? Our guide will help you navigate the pitfalls and use the best strategies to get your career going again.
You’ve recently had a baby and want to enter into everyday working life again soon — and are wondering whether, despite a child, you can still succeed on the career ladder to climb to the top?
Strategies to restart a career with a new baby
Today around 70% of working women have a child, with around 80% working part-time, but part-time is unfortunately considered a career killer today. It is much more difficult for young mothers to find a job that is compatible with raising children and also offers opportunities for advancement.
As a mother and wife there is definitely the possibility to restart a career with a new baby and climb the career ladder, but unfortunately it can hardly be reduced to part-time. As a rule, employees rise if they fulfill their position excellently and invest a lot of time in their work to advance the company – part-time workers are therefore less attractive for employers!
After a longer baby break, the planned re-entry is often difficult because the connection is missing. This definitely requires support from both the private environment and the employer, so that the right framework conditions can be created and the child’s / child’s childcare issues can be clarified. According to Pilloud, it is incredibly important to make the decision beforehand who will take care of the child or children when, so that an everyday work routine can be planned.
Support for motivation
Despite the greater effort, employers are still willing to respond to the needs of young mothers today. It is important to develop a position that is essential for the company so that the job entry after the baby break is secured. Jeannine Pilloud was employed by IBM during her family planning, with the boss offering her a promotion without knowing about her pregnancy. She nevertheless informed her boss so that he had the opportunity to withdraw his offer.
She was therefore able to return to her job without problems after pregnancy and take care of the promotion! Later, however, she also had negative experiences and was confronted with sayings such as “Either you are a good manager or a good mother!”: “A thick skinwould be very helpful in such situations,” said Pilloud. It is equally important to have the right partner at your side, who allows flexibility and can and wants to take on various tasks in childcare. In addition, the partner must be willing to assume the role of the other so that career planning can be discussed together before a child is planned
It is important to have a discussion about leading women and mothers in management positions, because in times of equality and gender debates, employers have to adapt to the needs of all employees. This includes part-time employees due to raising children.
The employer must not ignore part-time women, but must always give them the chance to develop further, otherwise, according to Pilloud, they will lose the good employees. Part-time models and a return to everyday work for women over 40 are recognized and even promoted; however family planning and organization is still a personal matter.
Professional and mothers’ networking groups can be a great help to restart a career with a new baby. The “Generation CEO” network offers women who are career-oriented and who prefer to start work quickly after the baby break, a place for exchange and mutual support. About 15 years ago, women would have been practically invisible, according to “Generation CEO” founder Heiner Thorborg … men in management positions primarily hired men. Today it is different, but rethinking is taking place slowly, according to Thorborg, superiors have to stand up even more for women and make it clear that family planning is still a personal decision.
Don’t neglect professional contact
No, but it does require some commitment to get off to a smooth start again after maternity leave! For a smoother return to work after maternity leave, it is advisable to contact the employer at least once a week to keep up to date. It is also advisable before the maternity leave begins to communicate clearly that you still have professional ambitions and at what time you want to start again.
Part-time: a career killer
However, every employee, whether male or female, must be prepared for a part-time job that does not lead to a managerial position. Reducing a job does not seem to work if you are aiming for a leadership position, because today’s market is fiercely competitive and requires more than an average workload. Even women in management positions would return to work after a short baby break, although children at home would not be an issue. Nevertheless, it is possible to work part-time, but you should choose at least a 70% job and show the employer that you are reliable when you return. Mobile work also makes it much easier to manage family and everyday work.
The personal organization of childcare is an essential part if women want to return to work as a full-time worker. If the financial situation is sufficient, a nanny or crèche often takes over most of the child’s childcare time – with less financially secure parents, childcare falls on a close person. According to the Swiss Federal Statistical Office, over 40% of children up to three years of age are looked after in a day-care center, day care center or through a supplementary school program. In Switzerland, according to the OECD *, the cost of full-time childcare for a two-year-old child with double earners per month is around 24% of the parents’ average income.
It is definitely difficult to get back into everyday working life after parental leave, except with good organization, the support of the partner and that of the relatives playing a decisive role. As a working mom, you can also exchange ideas with other mothers. Employers should be less derogatory to mothers and they should communicate clearly before maternity leave, when they want to come back and how they would like the job to be organized. Mobile work or home office can be an advantage
However, it is important to stay in contact with the employer during the downtime and to show reliability and motivation when you return. Part-time work can also be a solution, but mothers should never go below 70% to keep career opportunities open.