Kathryn Tyler and Nikki Cochrane of Digital Mums

In a nutshell

  • New report by Digital Mums highlights ‘Mum skills gap’ stopping one in five mums from going back to work after having a baby 
  • Half of mums have done no training in the past three years 
  • Mental health a big challenge for young mums, impacting their ability to work and get the training they need

London-based company Digital Mums, which trains mothers in social media, has released a new report today which reveals a lack of up to date skills is preventing millions of mums from returning to work after having a baby.

The report by the digital training provider, based in Hackney, reveals the ‘mum skills gap’ has stopped 21% from going back to work after having a career break. The survey of 2,000 mums by One Poll reveals that 28 per cent said it had prevented them from applying for jobs, equating to almost 2 million mums. Meanwhile 18% said it has stopped them getting a specific job they had applied for.

Digital Mums, is a social media training company specialising in getting mums job-ready so they can create flexible careers that fit around family life. It was founded in 2013 by Kathryn Tyler and Nikki Cochrane. 

The report reveals that just under half of mums (49%) reveal they have done no formal training in the last three years with cost being the biggest barrier.

A total of 20% of respondents to the survey revealed they are currently out of work, more than five times the national unemployment rate. Despite well publicised campaigns to boost flexibility in the workplace, the inability to preserve a work/life balance remains the biggest challenge in returning to work - a challenge for 52% of respondents. Arranging childcare comes next at 49%, followed by flexibility, 43% and lack of confidence 23%. 

For millennial mums mental health is a particular challenge, stopping 26% of 18-30 year-olds returning to work, compared to 17% on average for all mums. Meanwhile twenty two per cent of millennial mums said they haven’t done any training due to mental health challenges.

Digital Mums is calling on mums to ‘learn in’ this Autumn by training for the skills they need and is calling on the government, employers and learning providers to do more to support them. 

Digital Mums’ recommendations include:

  • More should be invested in adult learning and trial ‘back to work’ bursaries for women returners. 
  • Learning providers should design courses with mothers in mind and provide online mobile-optimised lessons where possible.
  • Employers should provide a training bursary to all women going off on maternity leave in order to refresh skills and rebuild confidence. 
  • Employers should provide flexible working arrangements for mothers undergoing training to ensure they can take advantage of the opportunity. 
  • Learning providers should encourage mothers onto the learning ladder by providing free taster lessons and courses to overcome the main barrier of cost. 

Co-founder Kathryn Tyler, said: “Our research highlights a very real challenge for mums wanting to go back to work with close to 2 million negatively impacted. Career break shouldn’t mean career broken and this autumn Digital Mums is supporting mums to ‘learn in’, upskill and apply for that new job. 

“With cost a big barrier we are also calling on Government and employers to do their bit to narrow the mums’ skills gap and support a huge segment of the workforce. Although there have been improvements with flexible working we shouldn’t be complacent. Our survey highlights the ongoing challenges for so many mums in finding work that works for them as well as raising the next generation.”

Ashleigh Smith
Article by Ashleigh Smith
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