For many, becoming a parent is a defining moment in one’s life.

Mothers in particular may find themselves focusing much of their attention on the new arrival in their lives – but it needn’t be at the expense of their career.

That’s the message from Juliet Moran, co-founder of TelephoneSystems.Cloud, who has also served as technical director at the Stoke-on-Trent firm for over 20 years.

Moran, 48, says mothers can still work demanding jobs while raising their children, although it is a “struggle”. Reports suggest that 50% of women will leave the tech industry by age 35, which directly coincides with the years of motherhood, while 42% of women say they experience a loss of confidence in their abilities in the fast-changing tech industry after maternity leave.

“It’s very hard within the tech industry to take time off with a little one and not lose connection with the industry,” she tells TechBlast. “But we all spend enough time doom scrolling on our phones that a few key tech feeds can help keep your mind still in the game, in-between googling ‘is it normal that my baby…’

“Me and my business partner should have talked more while I was off, but I just got lost in being a mother at the time. Staying connected just a little bit for a chat about what’s going on in the business can be healthy for someone on maternity. 

“It’s not about making you feel left out; it’s about remembering that you are more than just a mother – and early doors, that can be a challenge. Motherhood can be very isolating and remembering you had a career can help get your brain working again, so I think having a plan for regular communication between you and the boss before you go off is a good idea. 

“If your boss keeps the catch-ups fun and positive, it can be a real benefit and allow you to feel less isolated, but less email and more a phone call and a genuine catch-up.”

Moran says a flexible return-to-work plan, open dialogue and key business considerations in place like career progression will help retain a female workforce through motherhood. She urges women to take advantage of the Flexible Working Bill, which became law in England, Scotland and Wales in April. 

It means employees can now request flexible working arrangements from the first day of their employment that are better suited to their personal needs, such as juggling family and caring commitments. 

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“It’s hard not to affect your career when starting a family, but I think it’s important to understand both sides of the coin. Employees need to negotiate rather than demand, understanding the impact choices can have on others will generally open up bosses to being more flexible. Sometimes a small flexibility can make a big difference,” she explains.

“I finish at 3:30 on alternate Thursdays or Fridays, enabling me to take my daughter to music lessons and have a little bit more time with her. It’s only two hours, so this is caught up over the week, with early or late working.”

The Equality Act 2010 also protects employees from discrimination and victimisation because of their pregnancy.

Moran adds: “With an inclusive culture and flexible workplace and the right business considerations and policies in place, it is possible for companies to retain more females in the workforce.”

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