UAE: New mums returning to work want flexibility

Survey reveals positive work culture, compensation, and career progression are other key elements


Nandini Sircar

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Image used for illustrative purpose. Photo: File
Image used for illustrative purpose. Photo: File

Published: Wed 29 May 2024, 6:03 PM

Last updated: Thu 30 May 2024, 8:53 AM

Flexibility remains the top priority for mothers returning to work in the UAE, with 76.8 per cent ranking it 5 out 5 on the matrix. That’s according to the recent survey results released by UAE employment platform Beyond Careers.

Among the other key findings, apart from flexibility, the most sought-after benefits include positive work culture, compensation, and career progression.

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The study launched on International Women’s Day 2024, was conducted on a data sample of 115 responses, with approximately 92 per cent of respondents being mid-senior level female professionals residing in the UAE aged between 31 and 50 years.

According to the survey, 56.2 per cent also stated that they have felt pressured or harassed, made to leave a job, or not been offered a role due to pregnancy or due to pre- or post-natal issues.

Flexible work opportunities

Rowen Nadia, Founder of Beyond Careers, said: “We wanted to pull back the curtain on the challenges faced by mothers returning to the workforce, aiming to advance conversations on inclusion and address the broken rung. As evidenced by our survey results, forward-thinking companies stand to strengthen their corporate reputation and gain access to an untapped pool of experienced, albeit time-restricted senior talent through the implementation of people-centric systems and policies.”

She added, “We are poised to support such employers in their mission to create fair and equitable workplaces while being the go-to portal for candidates seeking opportunities with flexibility and purpose.”

Highlighting the diversity of the UAE, a total of 29 nationalities were represented in the survey, sharing their insights and experiences on a variety of topical issues.

This also ranged from pay-gap perceptions to the importance of raising awareness about women’s health and related matters in the workplace.

Delayed family planning

Considering that primary care-giving responsibilities fall largely to women, 64.7 per cent of respondents acknowledged that they have been affected by or delayed family planning due to a lack of support in their professional environment.

The Return-to-Work Survey was conducted through a partnership with the British Chamber of Commerce Dubai, under the leadership of CEO Katy Holmes.

She had said, “There are two rising scenarios in Dubai, highly experienced and time-constricted women looking to return to work and company founders who are ‘lonely at the top’ and would hugely benefit from senior counsel on a part-time basis.”

Notably, the UAE has made significant strides and continues to make steady progress in advancing women’s empowerment and gender balance.

In keeping with this ambition, business leaders are encouraged to play their role in supporting national targets and commitments through the top-down implementation of people-centric systems and policies

In the UAE, enterprises such as Marc Ellis offer tailored career coaching services aimed at enhancing the CVs of women aspiring to get back to mainstream work, ensuring they proficiently highlight their skills and address any gaps in employment history.

“We advocate their skills and availability to clients and offer upskilling and reskilling through our training academy, helping them fill any gaps in their skillsets. We believe this approach aims to ease their transition back into the workforce, helping them secure positions that value their experience while accommodating their personal commitments,” said Aws Ismail during an earlier interview.


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