Women who return to work after maternity or parental leave can face many hurdles. Although employers often claim to offer a healthy work-life balance, many young moms experience empty promises and fewer opportunities. Marcuard Heritage is breaking down barriers and building inclusive career paths so that young moms in part-time roles can keep working towards a bright future.

Some 80% of women working in part-time positions in Switzerland are moms with young children. Although women hold 59% of the country’s part-time jobs (the highest rate in Europe), many companies still view mothers as risky hires. For example, human resource officers often doubt their ability to juggle being a professional and a parent no matter how well the interview goes. On top of that, part-time positions often lead to fewer career opportunities, leaving many women feeling left behind.

Many companies view mothers as risky hires

A toxic mix

Beyond any reluctance employers have, some women are themselves hesitant to return to work — even if they’ve only been away a short time. Juggling competing responsibilities can seem daunting. What’s more, antiquated notions of motherhood contribute to outdated expectations in many societies. As a result, lingering doubts about working while raising children are common. In this environment, many jobs have taken a back seat to family here in Switzerland, where Marcuard Heritage is based.

It’s an unfortunate situation, but some young mothers think there is something wrong with wanting both a family and a career. And that’s the last thing they need in the back of their minds when talking to a manager about a post-leave role or approaching a potential new employer.

When a lack of self-confidence crosses paths with a manager whose worldview has failed to keep pace with the times, it can be a toxic mix. Many women feel forced to make drastic sacrifices. Leadership roles pass them by, and many accept what amounts to a demotion. Most come back in a part-time role, which means lower pay, fewer benefits, and not as many professional development opportunities. Returning to work becomes a road to nowhere.

Part of the solution is to question these outdated norms.

An untapped resource

It doesn’t have to be this way. Numerous studies have helped to shatter old stereotypes. The recently released Gender Intelligence Report 2021 says part of the solution is to rethink these outdated norms. Research repeatedly shows that companies with more women are more profitable. What’s more, women generally return to the workforce enthusiastic and highly motivated — and parents possess skills that are in high demand in the workplace. They are well-organized and responsible. They can handle crises and adapt quickly to rapidly changing situations. They know how to deal with pressure and stress.

Many industries stand to benefit from these underutilized skills and expertise. From an economic standpoint, businesses cannot afford to ignore this demographic. As a result, innovative HR departments target mothers returning to work, who they see as highly valuable and capable assets.

There are many changes businesses and societies can make to support women who seek to rejoin the workforce. And they should because doing nothing is costly. In Switzerland, there are more than 50,000 housewives with a university degree or high-level professional training. That’s an enormous untapped pool of expertise and creativity. Meanwhile, many industries continue to complain about the severe shortage of skilled workers and the economic problems that result from low birth rates.

A recipe for success

We’ve long recognized this opportunity. That’s why, at Marcuard Heritage, we have worked to build an inclusive culture — and one way we do that is by actively seeking out and supporting young moms. Upon returning from maternity leave, they find flexible programs to help them master the art of juggling work and family. Whether it means going part-time, working from home, or setting their own hours, we make it easier for moms to manage busy mornings and afternoons, take care of sick kids, and handle all the additional responsibilities that come with being a parent. In short, we value output and performance over hours worked.

But our recipe for success doesn’t stop there. We offer qualified and talented young moms challenging roles as relationship managers so they can realize their full potential. A team of assistants is on hand to help our part-time relationship managers provide customers the same high level of care and attention they did before having kids.

At Marcuard Heritage, we’ve changed the norm because we believe work-life balance means family-friendly working conditions that help people succeed. By enabling inclusive career paths built on trust and empowerment, we ensure that young moms have a bright future waiting for them when it’s time to return to work.