It can happen to any of us, even the most career-minded of women. We go on maternity leave, and it’s like taking on a new, terrifyingly demanding job that we haven’t been trained for.
For months, our world becomes sleep deprivation, poo explosions, sore nipples and mindblowing love. Finally, it’s time to go back to our regular job. But now, that’s what feels unfamiliar and maybe even a bit daunting.
If this has happened to you, you’re not alone. New research has found that a whopping 66 per cent of women feel out of touch with the workforce after taking parental leave. The research was carried out by human resources group DeltaHR.
“We are not supporting women on leave,” says DeltaHR director Della Prowse. “Employers are saying, ‘Goodbye, and good luck with the baby!’ but failing to create clear pathways for how to return.
“The way technology is rapidly evolving and legislation changing, women are finding it ever more daunting navigating the process of returning to work, let alone day one back in the office.”
For their research, DeltaHR surveyed almost 500 Australian women nearing the end of their maternity leave. They found that 71 per cent hadn't taken part in any networking or training while on leave.
That's understandable. I can remember dropping in to the office to show off my baby, trying to time it so she would be asleep and look totally adorable. But I didn't consider sitting down with my boss for a formal catch-up session, or emailing her on a regular basis so I could keep up to date.