Matching flexible employers with stay-at-home parents

January 20th, 2017 5:45 PM

By Southern Star Team

Karen O'Reilly set up Employmum when she realised that stay-at-home parents were an untapped resource.

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A NEW business set up by Clonakilty woman Karen O’Reilly is helping stay-at-home mothers return to the workforce. 

Employmum is an online recruitment business which pairs skilled and qualified mothers with businesses who want to grow and enhance their organisations by offering more flexible positions.

The business venture the brainchild of Karen who believes it is fulfilling an important niche in finding employment for one of Ireland’s largest untapped resources – qualified stay-at-home parents. 

According to the latest Central Statistic Office (CSO) figures, 464,000 women listed their occupation as ‘home duties’, with at least 77,000 of those seeking either full or part-time employment. A further 10,000 men are also listed in the same category.

An online survey carried out Employmum, also found that 34% of those who chose to stay at home for family reasons have a professional qualification, while 16% have a third level degree or higher and 9% are members of a professional body. 

Of the 500 surveyed, 91% said they would return to work on a full time or part time basis if a prospective employer understood their need for flexibility. 

Speaking of her new venture, Karen O’Reilly said it’s obvious that there is a real need to look to the untapped resource of stay-at-home mums and dads who are looking to return to the workforce.  

‘Employmum is there to fill that niche in the market and by focusing on these people alone, we are best positioned to really find the perfect match,’ she explained. ‘The biggest obstacle for mums looking to return to work is the fact that they are failing to find companies who are willing to offer them the flexibility they need. However, employers are quickly realising that they must offer more flexibility when finding the right calibre of employee with the necessary qualifications and experience.’

She continued: ‘As a woman who gave up my job as an accountant, a qualification that I studied long and hard for, I know the dilemma these parents face. So many parents and women in particular, leave jobs which they love and are great at and when the time comes to return to those roles, the flexibility doesn’t seem to be there. However, I have been working extremely hard over the past number of months building a network of organisations who are open to flexi hours for staff and we are now at a point where businesses are coming to us which is fantastic to see.’

The advantages of flexible working are obvious to the employee but there are also clear advantages for the employer including cost savings, decreased turnover of staff, a more affordable professional and skilled workforce, reduced absenteeism and access to a wider pool of prospective employees which translates to getting the right person for the right job. 

In Ireland we are way behind other countries when it comes to offering flexible work to employees so our aim to make 2017 the tear to change this.

Employmum also offers clients training and coaching sessions through a network of regional coaches in Cork, Dublin and Limerick who work with clients to prepare them for interviews and returning to work. For more see 

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