Monday, October 29, 2007

Returning to work and self doubt

Returning to work is not always a simple exercise for most people. You need to think about child care options, child care costs, drop off and pick up, sharing domestic duties etc etc. But probably the biggest problem many women face is a lack of self confidence. I experienced a lack of self confidence when returning to work 6 months after my first child was born - so imagine some people who have been out for up to 5 years. What I can share from my experience is that within a week of returning, I wondered why I had spent so much time doubting my abilities. In fact, think I returned to work as an even more productive employee.

How did you overcome a lack of self confidence when you returned to work? Or are you at the stage where you are looking for work and feeling self doubt?

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Child care costs - have your say

With child care costs going up by over 12% per annum, and salaries rising on average by 2-3% per annum, the 30% rebate or the 50% child care rebate will mean very little if the Government does not intervene somehow in the rising cost of child care.

How has the cost of child care affected your re-entry into the workplace? And if you are receiving the other Government child care benefits, is this making a huge impact on your ability to afford child care?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Thinking of starting your own business?

Starting your own business can be the answer to your work and family balance. All it takes is a great idea. Something that you are really passionate about. Funding the business is the next hurdle. How much will it cost you to make your business idea a reality? Your business plan will help you to estimate the cost. You also need to think about the skills you don’t have. Talk to your friends, family and colleagues who do have the skills you are missing and tap into their brains. A business partner might be a good option for some people but you should be very careful about who you want to involve in your business and how much freedom you need. Starting your own business requires patience, determination, and an ability to get over short term hurdles and learn from them.

Monday, October 22, 2007

CareerMums press release: Cost of child care finally a national issue in the lead up to the election

CareerMums and Mums@Work welcomes Labor’s recent announcement to provide an initiative to reduce the cost of child care if elected. With a national skills shortage, women accounting for nearly half of the workforce, and child care costs rising by more than 12% per year, the spotlight on the cost of child care is long overdue.

In a recent survey conducted by CareerMums, the cost of care emerged as one of the biggest barriers faced by women returning to work after parental leave. This is in line with the work done by The Taskforce on Care Costs (TOCC) over the last 3 years, which shows that the cost of childcare has risen by 12% each year, putting at risk workforce participation rates.

Kate Sykes, Founder and Director of, said “I find that in my daily discussions with women who use our service, the cost of care is more often the deal breaker when it comes to returning to work. A child care rebate is a sensible response to assist women back into the workplace. In addition, Labor has proposed that its 50% rebate will be payed quarterly which is a practical step in assisting the family budget. The missing piece of the puzzle is how the cost of child care will be monitored. If the cost of care continues to rise by over 12% per year, both proposed child care rebates will potentially become ineffective.”

Emma Walsh, Founder of Mums@Work, “As a working mother of twins, I understand the reality of childcare being the most prohibitive factor in relation to returning to work more than most. Our childcare expenses are in excess of $450 a week which is not an uncommon situation for Sydney parents with two children in long term day care 3 days a week. The financial, not to mention emotional, burden this puts on families to balance the household budget is enormous. For many parents there simply isn’t a choice. Primary caregivers find they cannot afford to return to work when they add on the additional costs of transport, petrol and other work related expenses, and that’s without factoring in the other hurdles of actually finding a childcare place and negotiating flexible work arrangements.”

Forget childcare reform, we need a childcare ‘revolution’ and paid incentives to financially support parents to get back into the workforce. Most other OECD countries already provide this form of assistance, so Australia needs to catch up if it wishes to remain competitive, grow and prosper into the future with its current skill shortage crisis.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Turn a job interview into a positive experience

Getting a job interview after being out of work for a while can be exciting and frightening at the same time! If you are feeling nervous, start focusing on some simple tasks that will prepare you for the interview. Google the employer and prepare some questions for them about their business activities. Read the job description again – be clear on how your skills match the requirements of the role. Always talk positively about yourself. Try talking about yourself in the mirror and see how many nice things you can say about yourself. Get a new outfit. Looking good and feeling good about yourself go hand in hand. Above all, make sure you interview the prospective employer about their flexible workplace policies, career advancement opportunities, and how they measure and compensate performance. After all, the job interview is just as much about whether you want to work for them. If the interview is unsuccessful, ask for feedback, and move onto the next challenge. You may receive some useful tips for the next interview.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Is it possible to achieve a work and family balance?

Yes, I think it is but the balance is always changing. You may choose to work more during some stages of your kids lives and be at home more for other stages. No one can define what the happy balance is because we are all different. To achieve your own successful balance, you have to be happy about the choices you make and ensure that family responsibilities are shared.

Monday, October 8, 2007

How self confidence can get you that job

For many mums out there, self confidence can be the biggest problem holding you back from applying for a job. I often hear excuses like ‘I will wait until next year because we are going away soon and Christmas is around the corner etc .’ If you want to work, there is nothing stopping you. Certainly child care arrangements need to be made and your resume needs to be updated. You may also need to invest in a refresher course. I have experienced low self confidence on returning to work 7 months after each of my children were born so I can imagine how much that compounds if you have been out for longer. But in the end, it won’t do you any good. There is a job out there with your name written on it and you’ll love it. You need to value the skills you have picked up from being a parent and think about how you can adapt these skills for the workplace. Another thing - look in the mirror and talk about yourself. Are you being nice? Make sure you talk positively about yourself at all times and stop apologizing – it is a trait we can all live without!

20 ways to beat the skills shortage

Want some ideas on how to find and retain the right people amid a skills shortage. Some of Australia’s smartest operators give their tips.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Talent going to waste in the face of a national skills shortage

In a recent survey conducted by CareerMums, the cost of care and finding flexible work emerged as the two biggest barriers faced by women returning to work after parental leave. This is in line with the work done by The Taskforce on Care Costs (TOCC) over the last 3 years, which shows that the cost of childcare has risen by 12% each year, putting at risk workforce participation rates. Read our latest press release on this topic -

Monday, October 1, 2007

Is working at home for you?

Working from home is something most of us would love to do. Being able to structure work around your family is so appealing. The question is – are you the right type of person to work from home? If you are strict with your time, organized, motivated, and household chores won’t distract you, working from home just might be for you. On the flip-side, working from home can be lonely and you may crave the social interaction that comes with being in the workplace. Attending a team meeting each week or visiting your clients regularly might solve this problem. Working from home may also appear to be a solution to the issue of childcare. From my own experience, this is not the answer if you are expected to be on call during the day. Toddlers will want your attention and it doesn’t matter what you are doing. Finally, if working from home is for you, make sure your home office is set up with a computer, broadband, phone, and fax.