- The Mom Project, a job site for mothers looking to return to the workforce after a gap for childcare, has raised $8 million in funding to expand beyond its current cities of Chicago, Atlanta and San Francisco, TechCrunch reported. With over 1,000 companies participating and 75,000 moms registered, the company aims to place return-to-work mothers in companies like Procter & Gamble, Coors, AT&T and more.
- The Mom Project works with businesses who are looking to tap into that rich talent market, advising them on the benefits of a more diverse workforce as well as suggesting opportunities to make the transition back to work easier for moms. These options can include childcare and flexible working schedules.
- Founder Allison Robinson floated the idea of a jobs site for mothers when she was on maternity leave. She cited an HBR study that estimated over 40% of skilled women leave the workforce after having children.
Employers have turned their eyes toward parents trying to return to work as a potential source of underused talent, particularly mothers who have been pushed out of their respective fields due to caregiving duties. "Returnships" —opportunities offered to those returning to work in order to get them back up to speed — are growing in popularity for this reason. Specialized fields like STEM are experiencing a strong uptick in career re-launches.
Some of the largest companies, including Walmart, work with such employees through programming they created in-house or through platforms and services like the Mom Project, which has seen steady growth in response to demand for talent. Allowing some form of returnship can be a boon for both employer and employee; the company reunites with talent that knows the business, its culture and practices and the employee returns with a level of familiarity that can speed up the transition back into full- or part-time work.
A Boston Consulting Group survey showed that 43% of highly qualified women who have children will leave their careers temporarily at some point. One estimate puts women at 10 times more likely than men to temporarily leave their jobs to raise their children — meaning a solid returnship or flex-time program could help a company overcome some of its diversity issues, too.
The real success of returnship programs is that they help parents, in particular, ease back into the workforce after a dramatic life change. PwC, for example, introduced a flexible return-to-work benefit for men and women to improve retention of that worker population.