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Juggling childcare and careers made easier

Wednesday, 4th September, 2019 4:52pm

As children all around the country settle back into school, parents will also be settling back into their work routines after the summer. Karen O’Reilly, founder of Employmum, which provides staff to companies on a flexible basis, tells us about her company and what it does.

“There are thousands of parents in every corner of Ireland that are juggling childcare and their careers. This, as we know is not easy. School does not run 9am to 5pm on Monday to Friday, which is the traditional working week and employers need to make sure they support those workforce who need it.

Employmum is a recruitment agency, specialising in flexible employment and supports for people looking to return to work. I established the company in 2016 and the concept was born from my own challenges in returning to work.

I struggled to find flexible hours when I returned to Ireland in 2013 having lived in France for 12 years. Few employers were flexible enough to take me on.

Despite its name, Employmum is a gender-blind service which operates nationwide and around 30 per cent of our client base are men. More employers are realising they can obtain high calibre candidates by offering flexibility.

At the heart of what Employmum does is allowing professionals to work flexibly and to utilise their professional skills while maintaining a flexible approach to their position. The roles Employmum places candidates in include remote, part-time, job sharing, compressed hours, term-time, flexi hours or contract work.

Employmum also runs free workshops for those looking to return to the workplace, utilising a panel of support coaches located all over Ireland. Employmum has facilitated workshops on confidence, networking, interview techniques and CV help.

Some of the main issues that employees face are inflexibility of employers, along with the high cost of childcare and the long hours expected of employees. Employmum shows employers a better way of doing business and maximising return from employees.

We believe that in a time of nearly full employment in Ireland, employers offering flexible work conditions can obtain the best talent in the market and retain them. Our database of highly qualified, educated and skilled people are waiting to add value to your business. Thinking a little bit outside the traditional box of hiring can mean obtaining seriously high calibre, loyal and happy candidates.

I firmly believe that flexible work is the future of work, not just in Ireland but around the world.

Employers are coming around to the idea that if they offer some degree of flexibility, they can obtain the best talent and also retain these people. There are many issues that are pushing women and men out the door of many a workplace. Educated, bright, talented employees leaving the workplace because their bosses won’t give them a little flexibility while they manage their family life. Confidence is a huge issue for many women going back into the workforce after being on maternity leave.

People really feel that Employmum is their ‘safe place’ and they can talk freely and honestly about where they are. We have seen a real shift in employers’ attitudes to flexible work since we came into existence just over two years ago. Employers are realising that to obtain and retain the best talent, they need to offer some flexibility.

In today’s world, companies have no excuse to not offer employees, both women and men the option of flexible or remote working conditions. By showing flexibility, employers are realising that they can obtain the high calibre candidates that their companies need. Flexible work can be part time/remote work/job share/compressed hours or simply flexible hours.

A KPMG report recently stated that there are 55 million women at middle management level globally are currently not working. We should be tapping into this resource in Ireland which Employmum currently does, with a strong database of candidates seeking flexible roles.

I would really urged companies to think flexibility when it comes to offering a helping hand to staff.

Now more than ever as school and colleges start again, parents will need that support and it will work to the benefit of both the employee and the employer.”

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