Mothers at work

Working mothers in Germany are less ambitious in their jobs than women without children. This statement was made by the magazine Harvard Business Manager in the current issue of August 2017, referring to a study from 2011, according to which half of all managers in Germany surveyed claimed this. How do these managers come to this conclusion?

Harvard Business Manager What is this statement about? Are mothers really less committed and career ambitious?

The fact is that for mothers the Compatibility of child and career has deteriorated from 2014 to 2016. The longer a woman stops working in her job, the harder it is for her to return afterwards. And on top of that, women are often treated unfavourably after pregnancy or parental leave. The interruption is negative for the income from work and reduces the chance of further training and promotion, be it through lower pay, filling the position elsewhere or, in the worst case, by not hiring the mother anymore.

Too often - especially by the baby boomers (all those born between 1955 and 1969) - it is still expected that a woman is left behind in her job after the birth of her child while the man earns the money. In this generation, the focus is on work, while private life takes a back seat. Now Generation Y is entering the labour market, that is the 17 to 37-year-olds. They are highly educated and willing to work, but for them work must be combined with flexibility and pleasure. With Generation Y, the way of thinking is changing! More and more attempts are being made to better combine private life with work and to make it easier for parents, especially mothers with children.

This change can also be felt at Full Moon, because many employees and trainees belong to Generation Y. They should have the freedom and flexibility to organise their working day in such a way that their tasks and projects are best compatible with their private lives. The aim is to make everyday life easier for employees. To this end, we are developing a completely new working world: NEW MOON.

Starting with flexible working hours, which can be arranged completely freely and adapted to family life. The workplace can also be where family life takes place. It is completely free to decide whether and when employees actually come to the office or when they want to use the home office option, for example, be it a day or even a week. Adapting to family and private life will change so many things in the coming weeks and months. Agencies are often accused of not using flexible working hours. Due to the focus on customers and project work, this is often not plannable, simply not possible.

Full Moon wants to be a pioneer to show that it is possible! Children are no obstacle for us. Instead, living directly with the target group and practical experience, especially in areas such as children, youth, family and education marketing - the main focus of our Full Moon Kids

very advantageous. But mothers are also employed in other areas, especially in management positions with high budget and budget responsibility, such as senior consultants. Especially mothers who are able to manage their family and the often chaotic everyday life well have no problems to find their way and structure themselves in the agency life. Especially mothers (of course also fathers!) are extremely popular in an agency like Full Moon because they are good workers and work with commitment. And not only full-time, but also in various part-time models from only 50% up to 85%; always adapted to the respective life situation. They enrich the company! Unfortunately this fact has not yet reached all companies.

Many women are concerned about not being able to return to a similarly demanding position after pregnancy, while fathers find it easier to return to work. This is probably also due to the fact that men take parental leave for shorter periods on average than women. It is often difficult for mothers to combine work with having a child. You may feel that you have to subordinate yourself in everyday working life, put your mother's work behind you, have to prove yourself in order not to get lost in the job and are therefore all the more committed. Researchers from the Universities of Zurich and Constance, as well as the Institute for the Future of Labour from Bonn, interviewed employees of an international online platform for economists and found that over their entire working lives, employees with two or more children were more productive in their professional lives than colleagues with one or no children. Of course, mothers have to cut back a little at first. However, according to the study, they do more in retrospect to make up for their shortfall. The study does not include women who do not return to work after pregnancy, which unfortunately distorts the results somewhat. And of course, you cannot necessarily compare this area with every other area. In other professions, these problems can certainly be greater.

Nevertheless, the study supports mothers in the sense that they perform just as well as employees without a child, if not better. And it is precisely this aspect that should be considered more in order to illustrate once again the positive qualities that mothers bring to the table. If you ask some of the mothers who work at Full Moon, the majority say that they have become more patient and relaxed as a result of having a child, have learned to coordinate things faster and more effectively, remain calmer in stressful or even conflict situations.

But often mothers in particular have the feeling that they have to prove themselves to other colleagues. Why is that so?

Many women set themselves too high standards, want to continue working full-time and want to be mothers. Not working at all is not an option for most women. On the one hand, it is the desire for variety, social contacts and recognition, and on the other hand, it is also to some extent the pressure of society. One solution to make it easier for mothers to start and reconcile child and career is part-time work. Within the last 20 years, the number of mothers working part-time has almost doubled, whereas the number of full-time mothers is declining. In 2015, almost half of all working women were working part-time.

Unfortunately, the major risk of part-time work is the lack of security. A part-time income is usually not sufficient to secure the existence of a family. Also - and this is the concern of many mothers - the possibility of making a career with a part-time job is rather low. Many managers and directors consider women with part-time jobs to be unsuitable for high positions. Part-time workers are often unpopular in the company. The fewer part-time workers, the better. Disadvantages on the company side are higher costs in the area of work place and personnel, a higher effort in administration. Part-time workers are tolerated because of the legal obligation, but they are often not really wanted. There is also a lack of the will to employ a qualified and appropriate workforce in the company. This increases the pressure to get back into the job. For fear of losing their job or not finding a suitable position, many mothers lower their expectations and goals and, for example, take on jobs that don't really match their qualifications or expectations.

Nevertheless, the way of thinking is changing for the better and more and more attempts are being made to better combine private life with work and also to make it easier for parents, especially mothers with children.

In the meantime, more and more fathers are taking parental leave - albeit for a shorter time than mothers at first - and support their wives while they work full-time. According to the Federal Statistical Office, the number of fathers on parental leave has risen by over 10% to 34% between 2008 and 2014, The trend is still rising. A famous example is Mark Zuckerberg, who went on paternity leave and thus showed that the opposite is also true. Whether he is a role model for fathers cannot be answered. But his example certainly motivates to the extent that men today also have the opportunity to take care of their children and relieve their wives. We would like to encourage this more at Full Moon.

How can we make everyday life even easier for parents, especially mothers? How can we encourage mothers more and what framework conditions should be created to support women with children?

By introducing flexible working hours with home office days that can be arranged by the parents themselves and with a workplace where family life actually takes place, an attempt is being made to make it easier for parents. Flexible working models are increasingly being tested and applied in companies. More freedom, more time for the family. Starting work earlier, leaving earlier, being able to miss important incidents or visits to the doctor in between. Do your home office more often. If the child is ill, you can also work from home. Working world 4.0!

Better compatibility of child and career due to new structures and working models can lead to people wanting or being able to be parents at all and not having to decide for child or career. This is also the case with Full Moon under the title NEW MOON. It deals with four main topics in relation to autonomous working and free development as well as exploiting the potential of an individual employee. The aim is to create a company in which everyone can freely develop their individual potential and to develop new organisational structures in order to make the best use of each individual's abilities. We at Full Moon have taken our first step forward despite the clichés that agencies are faced with. But it does not stop at one step. Many more will follow and you can join us on our journey.

Do you have any questions? Then simply write an e-mail to Alexandra Donath: alexandra(at)fullmoon.de

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