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Thu 30 Aug 2018 11:59 AM

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UAE businesses should offer more flexibility for working mothers, says Mums@Work

Managing director Louise Karim said many regional companies refrain from employing mothers who have taken career breaks

UAE businesses should offer more flexibility for working mothers, says Mums@Work

Businesses in the UAE should offer working mothers more flexibility, according to the managing director of Dubai-based recruitment platform Mums@Work.

Speaking to Arabian Business, Louise Karim said support methods such as training and flex core hours are crucial in helping working mothers develop their careers, and encouraging stay at home mothers to return to work.

"Globally and regionally, businesses are yet to fully embrace the need to provide flexibility for mothers in the workplace. This can be anything from part-time roles to simple flex core hours,” said Karim.

“So we provide training and support for mothers to help them get back to the workplace or even start their own business,” she added.

While Mums@Work has helped over 3,000 mothers in the UAE get back into the workforce since its launch in 2016, Karim said many companies refrain from employing those who have taken career breaks.

“[There is a] lack of opportunity for women who have taken a career break. Many employers fail to see the worth of candidates who have taken a career break…” said Karim, adding that part of the reason is traditional corporate mindsets.

“We had to educate, advocate and change the mentalities of regional companies. It was not only the right thing to do for diversity, but also attracting this untapped talent would create more innovative and commercially successful businesses…We are working to educate companies in the UAE on the benefits that such untapped talent can bring to their organisations and more importantly, to their bottom lines,” she added.

One of the ways in which it does so is the Mums@Work Returnships concept, a 12-week internship for experienced hires, offering women the change to get back to the workplace in mid to senior positions. The firm brought the concept to the region in 2017, and has since partnered with corporates including EY, VISA, Standard Chartered, IBM, Grant Thornton and Noor Bank.

However, Karim advises mothers looking to get back into the workforce to work on their skills individually as well.

“Build your confidence and remember the skills you had before and after your break. For example, many mothers are great at multitasking. Your network is also important in your career search and development. Get yourself out of the house and reconnect with old colleagues and peers,” she said.

The platform itself was founded and funded by David Mackenzie, also the founder and managing director of Dubai-based recruitment agency Mackenzie Jones Group. It is currently planning to expand in the Middle East and beyond. While Mums@Work focuses on recruiting mothers, it also caters to all women in the UAE.