Women who “opt out” of careers to have children have been much discussed, but too little attention may have been given to the difficulties these women encounter when trying to opt back in. The latest survey by British site Workingmums.co.uk finds that among women who take a career break to have or raise children, nearly half (48%) say they found it impossible to find a job in their field. Another 21% found a job in their field but at a lower career-track level than they were in before their leave. Just 15% said they easily found a job in their field.

While money was a top reason given for returning to work by the 2,300 mothers surveyed– with 65% calling it ‘very important”–many said they simply liked their field. Having adult company and getting out of the house also were motivators for returning to work.

Said Gillian Nissim, founder of Workingmums.co.uk: “Many mums struggle to get back to work after taking a career break which means retention is a win-win for both mums and employers. Interestingly, there has been an increased focus on women returners in the last year with several organisations having launched their own returner programmes to help support women who have taken a career break back to work. They argue that many women have years of experience and represent a huge and often overlooked talent pool.  Far from the stereotype, they are also often highly motivated. The survey statistic that 61% would work even if money was not an issue shows that sense of commitment as well as the fact that they derive a lot of enjoyment from their work.”

Read Workingmums.co.uk’s full discussion of its study here. Share your own experiences opting out and back in on GlassCeiling.com. Join the conversation.

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