The Joy of Flex Time: New Companies Aim to Help Moms

The Joy of Flex Time: New Companies Aim to Help Moms

Moms and jobs. While the debate continues over working or stay-at-home mom lifestyles, the truth is, in this economy, many moms don't have a choice.

In fact, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, more women are working within a year of giving birth than they were in the '60s, '70s or '80s. 

For many moms, it's not if but how to return to work.

We're sure most would like the flexibility to work toward advancement while still making it to school plays ... but until now, that's been hard to come by.

A Catch-22 in Workplace Flexibility

According to a recent study, 42% of working adults were willing to give up some percentage of their salary for more flexibility at work. And more than three in five agreed that flexibility was one of the most important factors when evaluating a job prospect.

But, despite high demand, another study found that employees are being penalized for capitalizing on work-life policies put in place by their own companies—with punishment ranging from unattractive job assignments to promotions being denied. Nearly one in three supervisors said employees who take advantage of flexible work arrangements would not advance in their organization.

Do You Know Other Moms Looking For Flex Work?

Have you ever joined a working moms group? Have you used one of these companies to find a flexible job that worked with your schedule?

On the other hand, despite a weak economy, it's still an incredibly competitive job market for companies who want to hire—and retain—highly talented workers.

So that brings us to a seeming Catch-22: Lots of people want better work-life balance; lots of companies who don't necessarily applaud flex time are anxious to hold on to their talented employees.

And all of this has led to an exciting new trend in the recruiting business: Companies springing up to place workers seeking flexibility—like moms—at jobs and companies that cater to their lifestyles.

A Viable Solution for Working Moms

Mom Corps, launched by Allison O’Kelly, is one of the first organizations to do just that, and it works with clients ranging from Fortune 100 companies to small businesses. Its aim is to fill companies' staffing needs with talented moms struggling to find their way in the traditional workplace.

“When the company first started, we were filling a need for moms in terms of finding them a job that would provide a flexible work/life schedule,” says Maria Goldsholl, COO of Mom Corps. “But when the recession hit, we found that companies were in need of our services just as much as the moms, because they were looking for trained professionals who were willing to work flexible or part-time schedules.”

And MomCorps isn't alone: Suddenly the job landscape is dotted with mom-friendly recruiting firms.

These new companies offer a variety of non-traditional job structures, including freelance project work, part-time options, telecommuting and jobs with flexible scheduling. Since many of their candidates are highly educated women who held prestigious posts prior to seeking more flexibility, the jobs aren't limited to the "low-on-the-totem-pole" positions many envision when talking about part-time work. Opportunities range from senior manager and executive positions to project managers and administrative assistants.

And the recruiters spend weeks, even months, finding legitimate companies in need of a talented, flexible workforce. "We spend a lot of time weeding through the junk, picking out the scammers and making sure we only offer the best," says Sara Sutton Fell, the CEO of FlexJobs. "We offer a money-back guarantee on the jobs."

The Next Step in Work-Life Evolution?

While this may be a baby step for working moms everywhere, the notion of companies moving toward offering more flexibility isn't going anywhere anytime soon:  "Remote workforces will continue to expand as companies aim to retain talent that increasingly values telecommuting," says Goldsholl, who says that companies are starting to recognize the benefits of a highly experienced and expert workforce that may or may not take the form of permanent, full-time employees.

If you're interesting in finding a job more suited to your schedule, check out our chart featuring a variety of companies that offer services to match employees with flexible work:

Company Good For
Alpine Access Work-from-home jobs
FlexJobs Flexible and part-time jobs
Flexible Executives Project work
Flexible Resources Flexible jobs
iRelaunch Career reentry programs and events
Mom Corps Flexible and part-time jobs
On-Ramps Part-time and full-time jobs, project work
The Career Partners Project work
Work-at-Home Job Listings Work-from-home jobs

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