‘Mothers Make the best workforce’: Absolutely Mama talks to Juliet Turnbull
Words Miriam Carey
Absolutely Mama meets Juliet Turnbull, the founder of revolutionary website 2to3days, which aims to connect professional mums returning to work with the right employers.
Juliet’s website 2to3days.com has been online for just 18 months and already it has 20,000 mothers registered. The website connects employers with mums looking for skilled, and stimulating work on a part time flexible basis.
I wanted to catch up with Juliet to talk about the success of the business, and the work she is doing to encourage woman back into work after having a baby.
When I spoke to Juliet she was in the car with her kids on her way to meet a HR director of a national company. It seemed fitting that she was literally living according to her own philosophy, that having children and being a working woman are not mutually exclusive things.
Is there a prejudice towards mothers going back to work after pregnancy, around their capabilities?
This is a mind-set that exists amongst some people, but most companies are more open-minded than mothers believe. There is a shift going on at the moment, there is pressure on organisations to close the pay gap between men and woman (referring to new legislation on companies publishing wage gaps). Larger organisations have moved most in this direction (Juliet was on her way to meet one now). Not all organisation are there yet, but many are.
What are the 3 biggest challenges mothers face when going back to work?
Confidence, mothers live in a parallel world where they do not realise the extent of their skills; access to traditional jobs; childcare.
As a mother, what was your personal experience of getting back into work?
My challenges were very different as I worked for myself, but I was torn between work and home, and felt very guilty for not being as present as a full-time mum. Plus childcare costs were a huge challenge.
Can you briefly describe the brand 2to3days and who it aims to help?
2to3days is for all mothers who want a stimulating job, an active role, and who want to put their education to use. The website provides business roles, from boardroom to executive roles, for professional woman.
Is it a philosophy of yours that both businesses and children benefit from working mothers?
Ask my children! I think you need to be happy with who you are and not bored and frustrated with home life. Woman who are true to themselves and feel like they are fulfilling their potential, who are happy and stimulated, will benefit their children.
Working and having children should not be mutually exclusive: work is part of your life, not outside of your life, children are also part of your life. I don’t believe in separate work and home life – and it always helps to be able to contribute financially.
Are there any transferable skills you believe are unique to mothers?
When you become a mother you learn new skills: conflict resolution and time keeping are just two of these. I can tell you right now that a mother who chooses to work is the best time manager on the planet. I work more efficiently now I am a mother: when you have less time you are more focused.
What is the process of finding work through 2to3days?
It’s really simple: first you register and complete your profile. Then you are able to search for jobs, and apply to jobs through the site using a CV and cover letter. The company will then get in touch with you whether you are successful or not.
Is there any consultation or psychometrics involved?
No we are not a recruitment consultancy; think of us like an online meeting place, like a coffee shop. It is where two groups who have something to offer each other can meet.
The website looks to attract companies happy to work with mums, which means job searchers don’t have to hide the fact that they have family commitments. At interview they can be completely honest about themselves and what they can bring to the job (which usually equals greater productivity, performance, creativity, and relationships at work).
Do you have any success stories you can tell me about?
There are so many: the first which springs to mind is the mum now working happily as Head of Marketing at a property firm in the West End.
Mums who have children and go back to work are the most driven humans on the planet. It is harder raising children than it is working. Mothers are the best workforce because of the mental application and the determination they bring.
Many companies we work with prefer to recruit from our site, and once they have, some were initially surprised at the calibre of candidates they found through us. What I usually say is, ‘No shit Sherlock, these mothers have had children not a lobotomy!’
Top tips for mums returning to the workplace
** Believe in yourself. Now is your time, the government is putting legislation behind it. Governments have lost money in the past for not supporting women.
** Update your LinkedIn profile right away
** Network through social media, and get back in touch with your previous organisations
** Don’t be embarrassed about having taken time off. Think about the new skills you have learnt or any voluntary work you’ve done in the meantime.
Juliet is a great inspiration, and a wonderful representation of the driven, multi-tasking mother, who is balancing home and work life, and loving it. Her outlook for mothers returning to work was positive and promising one.
We both agreed mothers who have the drive and motivation to return to work should be welcomed, and not discriminated against.
Find out more at 2to3days.com
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