Earlier this year, we asked the Women in Games community to take part in a survey by Dr Emma Waltham about maternity returners in STEM.
The results of the survey have revealed that:
Over half of the women surveyed said that they struggled with mental load on return to work after their maternity leave.
A third of women reported a negative experience at work during pregnancy or after return to work after maternity leave.
According to the report, and Dr Waltham’s observations:
Organisations will only succeed in their aspirations if they create a culture where maternity returners feel like they are in a place where they can stay and thrive. Those employers will be successful in sustaining strong female talent pipelines after maternity. They will protect and build gender diversity at all levels and finally bring an end to their gender pay gaps.
However, the research highlighted that the employee experience is varied, even within an organisation, and can be very different depending on the employee’s role or the competency of the manager.
There is often an inconsistent approach from HR and managers, making employees feel like they are a ‘nuisance’. Managers, particularly those in male-dominated environments, are not consistent or confident about how to support pregnant and returning mothers. And, of course, women are often emotional – and face logistical challenges – about leaving their baby to return to work.
The challenges for both mothers and their employers are huge. Find out more about these, as well as reading about the experiences of individuals and initiatives taking place in forward-thinking organisations, by downloading the White Paper here.