Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A game plan to help you find a flexible job

Despite a national skills shortage, finding flexible working conditions can still be a challenge. Some of our CareerMums have expressed frustration when dealing with recruitment firms who are not as excited about their potential in the job market when they say those 3 little words: “part time job”.

Don’t be discouraged. There are employers who want your skills and experience, and are more than happy to ‘think flexibly’. It is just a matter of knowing where to look, who to talk to, and how to approach it.

To find a flexible job, follow our 5 step game plan. Click on the following URL.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Submitting a business case to work flexibly

Employees who wish to negotiate flexibility are often asked by their manager to write a brief or proposal outlining the need for flexibility and how they envisage it working. Whilst this seems like a logical approach and reasonable request, the reality is, that without a guide on how to approach and write such a proposal, employees struggle to construct and outline a case that addresses all the criteria and considerations the employer expects. Manager’s use this business case as the ‘make or break’ deal maker to determine if they will approve the employee’s request. An unfavourable outcome can lead to disappointment and resentment on both sides.

Limit disappointment and think smart. Ask your employer to provide you with a template that outlines and itemises all the things that you are expected to consider and address such as working hours, work you will perform at home versus the office, and how your clients needs will be affected.

Do you have any suggestions for people wishing to present a business vase to work flexibly?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Press release: WorkChoices not on the radar for parents looking to secure job flexibility

Over 95% of respondents were indifferent or felt less secure in negotiating flexible working conditions with the introduction of WorkChoices, according to a new survey of 216 respondents by www.careermums.com.au, Australia’s first online job classifieds website connecting skilled parents to flexible and part time jobs. However, 73% of respondents have negotiated or are planning to negotiate flexibility with their existing or new employer.

Kate Sykes, Director of www.careermums.com.au said “These results suggest that WorkChoices is not playing an integral role in negotiating workplace flexibility. The national skills shortage seems to be providing greater impetus for skilled workers to negotiate flexible working arrangements informally with their employer.”

Close to 80% of respondents felt that our politicians were not properly addressing key issues faced by parents returning to work. And yet, 57% of respondents stated that the issue of child care would impact their vote in the upcoming election.

Kate Sykes, Director of www.careermums.com.au, hears the frustration of women on a daily basis. “Workplace flexibility and cost of child care prove to be a continual barrier in parents returning to work sooner. Women now account for nearly half of our workforce. With the national skills crisis getting worse, politicians need to make a change now.”

When asked about Labor’s proposed 50% child care rebate being paid every 3 months, close to 60% of respondents said it would make some difference or a huge difference in terms of re-entering the workplace or working more days.

Interestingly, the top 3 forms of child care our respondents either prefer or currently use are long day care (30%), a family member (29%) and family day care (13.6%).

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Flexible work now top attraction and retention strategy

Employers say offering flexible work is the most successful attraction and retention strategy and more effective than financial incentives, according to new research from Hudson.

The latest Hudson HR Insights research (which surveys over 7,000 employers from 19 core industry groups) showed that while retention was cited as an issue for all employers, the most severe problems were in the telecommunications and hospitality sectors. About 40% of both telecommunications and tourism and hospitality employers rated retention as a major problem, as did 35% of professional services firms.

Retention was less of a concern for employers in the education (15%), FMCG (23%), manufacturing (24%) and transport (24%) sectors.

When asked about the impact of high turnover, employers said customer service was the main area to suffer, followed by employee morale.

The study showed the most widely-used engagement initiatives were flexible work options (67.5%), followed by financial incentives (62.0%), leadership development (48.2%), and succession planning (47.7%).

The engagement initiatives used by the fewest number of employers were mentor programs (36.0%), formal coaching (35.4%), and high potential programs (27.8%).

Some 96% of employers had formal engagement initiatives in place.

When it came to ranking the effectiveness of engagement initiatives, employers said flexible work was the most useful (29%), followed by financial incentives (27%).

Other initiatives, such as leadership development (14%), succession planning (14%) and formal coaching (6%) received much lower ratings for success.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

What to include in your cover letter

Cover letters are an important part of any job application. It provides you with an opportunity to differentiate yourself from other candidates. What is your personal point of difference? You can also succinctly address the selection criteria in the job advertisement – summarise how your experience makes you a great fit for this role. Also, address the person mentioned in the job advertisement to give it a personal touch. Check your grammar and spelling as the cover letter can always give the employer information on how well you can write and express yourself. I have seen many cover letters that talk about the candidates’ personal lives. Please don’t talk about your children and your marital status, and don’t plead to be given a chance to prove yourself. Keep it professional and focused on the requirements of the job being advertised.

Do you have a great cover letter that gets you results every time? Share your tips.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

SMH Heckler gets heckled

Anyone read today's SMH Heckler article? Here's the link if you missed it, and here's the reply I sent the SMH.


Hi Louise,
Interesting article. I have 2 young toddlers and even I don’t see that side of life that you have written about. Between work and children, I don’t have time to offer complaints like that.

Three things to consider:
1.You may not like children, but you were once a child. Who knows, you may have been a revolting toddler that your poor parents had to deal with.
2.These revolting little children will be paying for your health care one day so show some respect.
3.Stand up for other women. Raising children is a really hard job. Writing articles that divide women and the choices they make in life is an irresponsible thing to do. Why don’t you contribute to the idea of women standing united – as men do.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

CareerMums Survey

Have your say on child care and workplace flexibility. There are 10 questions and it will only take 1 minute of your time. Visit our home page - www.careermums.com.au
- and click on the CareerMums survey link. Thanks for your time.

Career Comeback Program

The UBS Career Comeback program (Sydney only), developed with AGSM Executive Programs, is a free two day program designed for professional women re-entering the workforce after a significant break of anywhere between 18 months and seven years. It will focus on refreshing business and technical skills and provide important networking opportunities. For details please see www.agsm.edu.au/cc

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Networking tips for parents

Networking is something that mums do well. Mothers groups are a great example. So why is it that we fall short of networking skills when it comes to going back to work? Often a great way to find a job is letting your friends, family and work colleagues that you are looking for a job. Some of the best leads can come from people you know.

If you found a job through your social network, share your story.