Returning to work after maternity leave: expectations vs reality

Returning to work after maternity leave is daunting for many mums. There’s the inevitable anxiety about leaving your baby, coupled with the worry that you may have forgotten how to do your job, or that things have changed while you’ve been away. On top of that you’ll be balancing your new role as a parent with work responsibilities, and all on very little sleep.

The number of UK mothers in work has reached the highest level in 20 years. Families where both parents work full-time are also on the rise. More than three-quarters of mothers with dependent children are currently in work. So, employers are increasingly working to improve the support they offer for working parents. However, research by Werklabs and SIA has found a considerable gap between parents’ expectations and companies’ offerings. By far, the largest gaps are in making working parents feel included and supported. More than 80% of workers said feeling included is important, but only 43% of managers gave high ratings to their companies’ capabilities in that area.

We spoke to Morson Talent’s Head of bids, Kirsty Hodgson about her return to work this month after becoming a first-time mum last year. Kirsty discusses the importance of maintaining connections with her team, the need for flexible working for both parents and the positive impact of role models in the workplace who demonstrate what working parents can achieve when they have the right support.

To read the full interview and find out more about what employers can do to support working parents visit the Morson Talent blog.

Supporting our people and communities is central to who we are and we’re proud to offer ED&I consultancy services that place inclusion at the heart of the conversation.

To find out more please get in touch.

More ‘PathFinders’ stories

From a love of maths to TV’s Countdown and inspiring a generation of girls in STEM, Rachel Riley

From a love of maths to TV’s Countdown and inspiring a generation of girls in STEM, Rachel Riley

Filling Carol Vorderman’s shoes on TV’s long-running Countdown would always be a big challenge, but for one Oxford graduate maths enthusiast, it proved to be a surprisingly natural, if unplanned, fit.

Rachel Riley had always been good with numbers from a young age, and after gaining a Master’s degree in maths from the prestigious Oxford University, in 2009 she took her first steps onto the sound stage at Channel 4 to become a household name.

In September 2023, Morson hosted its inaugural STEM Changemakers Summit at the Morson Maker Space at the University of Salford. A keynote speaker at the event, Rachel sat down with PathFinders to discuss the story of her life, her career, her aspirations for the future, how she’s using her platform on Channel 4’s long-running daytime game show to inspire and encourage girls into STEM, and much more.

Miss England: the aerospace engineer using her platform to inspire the future of STEM, Jessica Gagen

Miss England: the aerospace engineer using her platform to inspire the future of STEM, Jessica Gagen

Jessica Gagen made history in 2022 when she became the first redhead woman in history to be crowned Miss England in the annual beauty contest. Aside from her exploits in the fashion and modelling world, Jess has the distinction of having a passion for STEM, receiving a BEng in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Liverpool in 2023. Encouraged into STEM from an early age by her toolmaker father, Jess was initially reluctant to pursue this route due to the perception of it being a male-dominated world, something that she’s keen to use her newfound platform to dispel.