Working mothers are 'less ambitious'

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The Independent Online
MOST professional women who return to work after having children find they are less ambitious, according to a report published today.

About 60 per cent of mothers who restarted their jobs, often with the some of the country's most progressive employers, found they were less confident and less satisfied.

In a study of 785 women in senior jobs with 45 employers, the Institute of Manpower Studies found there were tensions between family and career for the majority of working mothers.

About 50 per cent of 'women returners' saw their careers as being on hold and 30 per cent were still committed to their jobs, but had lower aspirations.

About a third of the sample had returned to work part-time. They reported less progression in their careers since their break, felt less positive about their access to training and development and also felt less certain about their career prospects.

The report, Beyond the Career Break, found however, that part- timers were satisfied with many aspects of their working lives and suffered less stress than their full- time colleagues.

Neverthless the situation for working mothers in professional jobs seemed to be improving, women believed. 'Increasing numbers of professional women seeking to continue in work while their children are young find their jobs satisfying and the attitude of employers increasingly positive,' Wendy Hersh, IMS research fellow and co-author, said.

Beyond the Career Break: A study of professional and managerial women returning to work after having a child; IMS Report No 223. Institute of Manpower Studies, Mantell Building, Sussex University, Falmer, Britgthon, Sussex BN1 9RF.