Professional Jeweler Archive: Mother's Work

May 2001


Mother's Work

More businesses are recruiting young mothers and offering flexibility in exchange for loyalty

Your prospective new employee has the skills, the attitude and the interest. But if you’re like many managers these days, you would like one additional asset: a baby.

Companies are actively recruiting mothers with young children because such women can be highly loyal workers.

True, sometimes they’re distracted by day-care and other child-related concerns. But so many employers are hostile to personal emergencies, say experts, that mothers work harder for those who are flexible.

Hiring moms is especially popular among small businesses whose managers have found being flexible about work policies is a relatively cheap benefit that allows them to compete with larger, more rigid companies, reports The Wall Street Journal.

The Search

It can be hard to find young mothers in the market for a job. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of working mothers with children under three rose 9.5% to 5.3 million in the 1990s. That’s down substantially from a 47% increase in the 1980s.

Today, nearly two-thirds of all U.S. mothers with children age three or under are employed. In 1990, it was about half that. Unemployment among working mothers is about 6%, a 30-year low, compared with double-digit rates in the early 1990s. But these workers are worth the effort it takes to find them.

“The costs of hiring and training are so severe it’s becoming important to look at women who the job market hasn’t been very kind to,” says Laurie Levenson, president of Direct Access Staffing in Carlsbad, CA, whose 20-person staff includes five working mothers. “I find that people who benefit from flexibility end up working harder and are more productive out of appreciation.”

And it probably won’t stop with working mothers, say experts. In the long-term, working mothers have broken ground in the area of scheduling flexibility that ultimately will benefit all workers.

As a result, the traditional stigma attached to working moms – that they’re not as committed – will disappear, predicts Donna Lenhoff, general counsel at the National Partnership for Women and Families, an activist organization based in Washington, DC. “The same types of policies that working moms have gained will be extended to other workers too,” she says.

– by Mark E. Dixon

Copyright © 2001 by Bond Communications