UAE: New mothers seek flexibility when returning back to the workforce

Asma Ahmed - | UAE

Mothers returning to work in the UAE prioritize flexibility, with 76.8% ranking it highest. Beyond Careers, an employment platform, recently released survey results revealing this trend.

Mothers and workforce in the UAE

Alongside flexibility, respondents also highlighted the importance of positive work culture, fair compensation, and opportunities for career progression. These findings underscore the significance of accommodating the needs of working mothers in the UAE's professional landscape.

Conducted on International Women’s Day 2024, the survey captured insights from 115 mid-senior level female professionals aged between 31 and 50 residing in the UAE. The data reflects the experiences and challenges faced by a significant segment of the workforce balancing professional careers with familial responsibilities. Among the concerning revelations, over half of the respondents (56.2%) reported encountering pressure, harassment, or discriminatory treatment due to pregnancy-related issues, affecting their job opportunities and career advancement prospects.

Founder of Beyond Careers, Rowen Nadia, emphasizes the importance of addressing these challenges and fostering inclusive workplaces. Nadia advocates for companies to implement people-centric policies that support the needs of returning mothers, thereby tapping into a valuable pool of experienced talent. Such initiatives not only benefit individual employees but also enhance corporate reputation and contribute to a more diverse and inclusive work environment.

National Goals and Commitments

The survey also highlights the diversity of perspectives within the UAE workforce, with respondents representing 29 different nationalities. This diversity enriches the discussion on challenges faced by working mothers and underscores the need for tailored support systems that accommodate varied cultural backgrounds and experiences. Additionally, the survey sheds light on the impact of professional environments on family planning decisions, with a significant majority (64.7%) acknowledging that lack of support has affected or delayed their family planning efforts.

Partnerships between organizations and chambers of commerce, such as the collaboration between Beyond Careers and the British Chamber of Commerce Dubai, play a crucial role in addressing the needs of returning mothers. These partnerships facilitate the exchange of ideas, resources, and initiatives aimed at creating more supportive and inclusive work environments. By leveraging the expertise and networks of such organizations, businesses can better understand and respond to the challenges faced by returning mothers.

Despite challenges, the UAE continues to make strides in advancing women’s empowerment and gender equality. Business leaders are encouraged to play an active role in supporting national goals and commitments by implementing policies that prioritize the well-being and professional development of women in the workforce. Initiatives like tailored coaching and upskilling programs offered by enterprises such as Marc Ellis contribute to easing the transition back to work for returning mothers, ultimately benefiting both individuals and businesses alike.

Prioritizing flexibility and creating supportive work environments for mothers returning to work in the UAE is not only a matter of social responsibility but also a strategic investment in human capital. By addressing the unique needs and challenges faced by this demographic, businesses can unlock the full potential of their workforce and foster a culture of diversity, inclusion, and innovation.

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Asma Ahmed
Asma Ahmed
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