Switching Careers After Motherhood

Motherhood is a life-changing experience that can prompt women to re-evaluate their career goals and aspirations. 

While some women may decide to take a break from their careers to focus on raising their children, others may choose to switch careers to find a better work-life balance or pursue their passion. However, switching careers after motherhood can come with its own set of challenges. 

Red Flags in Job Descriptions

Identifying potential issues and red flags in the job description.

  • Multiple titles for one job.
    • Example; “Administrative  & Marketing Assistant; Communications & Digital Marketing; Public Relations & Social Media Manager.
  • No salary listed.
  • Descriptions with Personality Requirements
    • Go-getter; Positive Attitude; Desire to Win; Team Player – All can indicate difficult micromanaging management and a potential hostile work environment where the hiring manager felt it necessary to state those requirements, most likely given past issues with their managed staff.
  • Immediate Hiring Urgency

Challenge 1: Limited Flexibility

One of the biggest challenges that women face when switching careers after motherhood is the lack of flexibility in the workplace. Women with young children often need to juggle their work schedules with their childcare responsibilities. Unfortunately, many workplaces still operate under a rigid 9-to-5 workday that can make it difficult for mothers to balance their work and family commitments. This can result in women having to choose between their career and their family, leading to a higher likelihood of women dropping out of the workforce altogether. 

Tip: Inquire early in the interview process regarding flexibility and work-life balance. Beware of red flags in the job description that can indicate zero flexibility.

Challenge 2: Gender Pay Gap

Another challenge that women face when switching careers after motherhood is the gender pay gap. Women, especially those who have taken a break from their careers to raise children, are often paid less than their male counterparts. This can make it difficult for women to negotiate their salaries when switching careers and can lead to a lower overall earning potential. The gender pay gap not only affects women’s financial security but also contributes to the systemic inequality that women face in the workplace.

Tip: When applying for a new job, ask what the budget is for the role rather than a salary range and match that to online research for the average pay scale for the job title.


Challenge 3: The Motherhood Bias

Women also face the challenge of bias and discrimination when switching careers after motherhood. Employers may assume that women with children are less committed to their careers or are less productive than their childless counterparts. This bias can make it difficult for women to secure job opportunities or to advance in their careers. Additionally, women may also face discrimination based on their age or family status, further compounding the challenges of switching careers after motherhood.

Tip: Keep personal information, such as children, age, and marital status, limited to a need-to-know basis. Speak in generalized terms when requesting time off or needing to leave work early due to children.  


Challenge 4: Lack of Support

Women who switch careers after motherhood may also face a lack of support and mentorship. While mentorship and support are crucial for any career transition, women may find it harder to access these resources due to systemic biases or a lack of representation in leadership positions.

Tip: Join local women in business leagues or social groups to expand your network and gain a more diverse peer support. Come to brunch 


Where Do We Go From Here?

Switching careers after motherhood can be a daunting task for many women. The challenges of inflexible work schedules, the gender pay gap, bias and discrimination, and a lack of support and mentorship can make it difficult for women to achieve their career goals. However, it is important to remember that these challenges are not insurmountable. By advocating for policies that support work-life balance, promoting equal pay for equal work, and creating a more inclusive workplace culture, we can help women overcome these challenges and achieve their full potential in their careers. Most importantly, speaking up when discrimination and injustices are seen and creating a support system will help in the life transition to working mother.