Friday, May 29, 2009

CareerMums Survey - have your say

CareerMums conducts regular 'on the pulse' surveys throughout the year to continually monitor your feedback and your ideas so we can talk to businesses and Government with confidence on the issues facing parents returning to work.

There are 10 questions - it will take you around 1-2 minutes to complete. We would appreciate your time to have your say.

You can go in the running to win 1 of 5 Return To Work Toolkits.

Visit the following web page:">Click%20Here%20to%20take%20survey

Be prepared for flexible work requests

With the introduction of the National Employment Standards in January 2010, more formal processes around working flexibly are becoming imperative. Business case proposals and guidelines for managers on how to assess each flexibility request is a must. Read more:

Thursday, May 28, 2009

How to write an effective job advertisement

Just as a resume can play a critical role in securing a job interview, a well-written job advertisement can make a huge difference in attracting great candidates. Every day, new jobs are being posted on CareerMums, and it is easy to differentiate the job advertisements that will be successful or not.

Read our 6 easy steps:

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sharing Parental Responsibilities

In over 65 per cent of Australian households, both parents work.

Sharing the responsibility of raising children is critical to achieving a satisfying work and family balance. Both parents are responsible for children they bring into the world. If one parent in a two working parent household is solely responsible for child rearing, pick-up and drop-off, cleaning, and preparing meals, in addition to maintaining their career and supporting their family financially, it can create an unsatisfactory, unbalanced home environment.

A good starting point is to write down all the chores and domestic duties that need to be performed throughout the week. Make sure you include the drop-off and pick-up times for the kids at child care or school.

Talk to your partner about how you can divide these responsibilities. If necessary, create a weekly calendar so family members know what their responsibilities are. If the children are old enough, assign chores to them. Other ideas are pre-cooking meals for the week on the weekends, and hiring a cleaner once every two weeks.

Loving and respecting one another’s life challenges and sharing parental responsibilities will create a more happy and harmonious home environment and loving partnership. And there may be time leftover for you and your partner to go out for dinner once a month!

If you are a single parent juggling work and family, you are amazing. If you don’t have a full-time partner to help you, search for networks or associations for single parents in your community. There may be opportunities to assist each other with before and after school care, for example.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Your transition back to work and the added challenge of career development

This challenge is so common. First and foremost, you need to have a formal discussion with your manager. Ask your manager what career progression opportunities are available in your current role. Be frank and ask the questions so you don't get stuck in the same role for the next few years. Also, find out what programs/courses your organisation offers to get up to speed.

Consider finding a mentor – either at your work or outside of work. Choose someone who you admire and who is achieving the same career milestones that you aspire to. Ideally they will be a parent too. Or else there may be women's networking groups in your area.

In the end, it is all about a game plan, so think about doing a mind map on a piece of paper with spikes to things like:
• What am I good at?
• What are my core skills?
• What is my dream role?
• What knowledge gaps do I have?
• What courses are available to fill these knowledge gaps?

Importantly for many return to work parents, half of the challenge is knowing that there is complete organisation on the home front so you can focus on work when you are at work.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Understanding your rights and obligations in the workplace

The workforce is changing. Every day, I see examples of responsible employers making a difference to the workplace for pregnant employees and parents returning to work. The skills shortage has certainly provided impetus for employers to embrace attraction and retention strategies to keep good staff.

However, I still receive phone calls and emails from women who are being treated poorly by their employer. Elizabeth Broderick, Sex Discrimination Commissioner, has just completed a 'listening tour' around the country. One of many observations she made was that the experiences of pregnant women, and those who had recently given birth and were seeking to return to their jobs, was of particular concern. The Commissioner heard that women are vulnerable to bullying when they return after having a child, and that many are not aware of their rights.

If you are not aware of your rights, visit the following website for advice -

In addition, ask to view the employment policies your employer offers. Ask for the parental leave policy and the flexible working arrangements policy - if they have them. If they don't, your question may prompt them to write some policies and procedures. Know your entitlements and the laws that protect you in the workplace. Knowledge is powerful.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Career Transformations

Many women experience a change in their career after having children. Typically, a career change is embarked upon to create more of a balance between work and family.
Our career change story this week is about Karen who transformed her math based career into teaching maths at school.

Read Karen's Q&A interview by visiting the following URL:

Monday, May 11, 2009

Stay at home parents will continue to benefit from Government initiatives

It is important to know the facts.


"The Rudd Government will deliver an historic Paid Parental Leave (PPL) scheme to support Australian families and prepare Australia for the economic and social challenges of the future.

This government-funded scheme will provide the primary carer with 18 weeks post-natal leave, paid at the adult federal minimum wage (currently $543.78 per week).

The cost of the scheme - approximately $260 million per annum - is a vital investment in improved productivity and workforce participation.

The scheme will not commence until 1 January 2011, giving the community and businesses time to prepare.

Paid Parental Leave will be delivered in a responsible and sustainable way which takes into account the impacts of the global recession.

The scheme will come into effect when the economy is expected to be recovering and the economic outlook improved.

To ensure the scheme is delivered in an affordable way, it will not mandate paid paternity leave at this time and employers will not be required to pay superannuation on Paid Parental Leave entitlements.

Currently, Australia is one of just two OECD countries without a national statutory paid parental leave scheme, along with the United States.

This historic Paid Parental Leave scheme will encourage women to stay connected to their jobs.

This will boost workforce participation which will be essential in meeting the economic and social challenges of an ageing Australian population.

Paid Parental Leave will help Australian families find a better balance between work and caring responsibilities and will allow mothers to spend vital time with their newborn babies.

The scheme is a huge step forward for all mothers and especially for low and middle-income earners who generally have less access to employer-funded parental leave schemes.

In 2007, less than one quarter of women on very low wages had access to paid maternity leave, compared to three quarters on high wages.

The government-funded scheme will be based closely on the recommendations of the final report of the Productivity Commission Inquiry into Paid Parental Leave: Support for Parents with Newborn Children, which will be released with the 2009-10 Budget.

However, the scheme will be targeted so that taxpayers’ funds go where they are most needed.

To ensure the scheme is responsible and sustainable over the long-term, high income primary carers earning over $150,000 will not be eligible.

The Baby Bonus and Family Tax Benefits will continue to be available for mums who choose to stay at home. A stay at home mum with a partner on average earnings will continue to receive around $12,000 in government assistance in the year after the birth of their baby.

However recipients of the Government’s Paid Parental Leave scheme will not be eligible to also receive either the Baby Bonus or Family Tax Benefit Part B."

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Paid parental leave

CareerMums welcomes the news that the Federal Government will introduce paid parental leave in January 2011. It is a social and economic benefit for mothers and their families. It is an important step in the recognition of women, their families, their career and their critical contribution to the Australian workforce.

Another major barrier to parents returning to work is the cost of care. The Government now offers a 50% rebate on care costs and is not means tested. This has assisted some families but the cost of care continues to be too high to justify skilled parents returning to work. The problem is that Australian child care is predominantly owned by the private sector (70-80%) so the Government has no control on pricing. As the cost of child care increases over the next few years, the 50% child care rebate will become redundant as the increase in the cost of care outruns wage and salary increases.

An interesting challenge for the Federal Government, particularly as women now account for around 50% of the labour force.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Self confidence

CareerMums conducts research periodically to understand the barriers parents face when returning to work. A lack of self confidence is consistently featured in the top 3 barriers; the other common barriers include difficulty in finding flexible jobs and the cost of child care.

Many parents often experience a lack of self confidence when it comes to their career and the prospect of returning to work. It is so common, and happens simply because you are removed from the workplace for a period of time.

Consider the following suggestions to re-build your self confidence:

- Review your career aspirations. What do you want to do?
- Create a mind map that covers what you are good at, what you want to do, and steps you will take to make it happen. Make sure you have a glass of wine in your hand to let the creative juices flow!
- Research suitable job ads and see the skills that employers are looking for. You may be pleasantly surprised. If you need to improve your skills, look at doing a short course.
- Get in touch with a career / life coach.
- Consider doing some volunteer or charity work to prepare you for the paid workforce.