MMB Returner Survey Results

Posted: Monday February 7 2022

By: Abbie Coleman

In early October 2018, we sent out a survey on maternity returners to MMB Magazine readers supporting our #LeaveLoudly #ReturnLouder campaign for women maternity returners. With more than 1,000 maternity returners from a wide range of sectors responding, 72% were middle management or senior level jobs returning to a small business through to a large corporate.


Who Responded

The women returners who responded were mid to senior leaders from line managers to executives. These women hold a wealth of experience and skillset from various sectors, including financial services to tech returners. All of whom had a young family and had returned to work from maternity or extended break. What our returners had to share shows the significant impact a return to work can have on an employee a department and a business brand.

What Did The MMB Returner Survey Show

The MMB Returner survey clearly showed a substantial lack of support for maternity returners among UK businesses. 91% of our maternity returners participants said no returner programme was in place for their return to work. We must see a strong focus and areas to strengthen a positive path forward return from the first day back and better still prior to maternity leave. It is essential the right support and additional support thats ongoing is offered from new skills development, technical training, development training through to support in building a new network within a positive and supportive environment. This will add a real value within the business, to the brand and the employees. This needs to be set as a standard best practices for companies ensuring successful careers ahead for maternity returners. These women must be seen as career returners and our future business leaders and invested in not just as a maternity returner or an after thought.

More than four-fifths of pregnant women begin their maternity leave unhappy and lacking in confidence about work – and over a third feel so isolated when they return that they want to hand their notice in, this has a big impact on your companies name out in the job market. We hear this time and time again when companies go back into the market to try and attract the very women who felt pushed out after their return from these companies, often spending far more money than that, that would be needed to run a returners programme in the first place. A key piece of work that can positive action regarding the gender pay gap.

Key MMB Returner statistics are:

  • Only 18% of maternity returners felt happy and confident about work – having seen how previous maternity returners had been dealt with by their employer.
  • 37% felt so unsupported and isolated on their return that they wanted to leave
  •  Just 17% felt they received good communication and support through the maternity process.
  • 90% said no returner support was offered through returner programmes or one to one coaching – yet 92% said a dedicated returner programme could have been beneficial
  • 60% were worried about their requests for flexible working being rejected, and 68% had concerns about the cost of childcare when going back to work.

When businesses are spending more and more money due to sectors experiencing a shrinking talent pool and struggling to attract talent to their businesses due to these skills gaps and skills shortages in a competitive market. The need to ask why these qualified candidates are often overlooked in the application process or lost upon their return to the world of work from maternity leave by their own companies.

The above MMB Returner survey shows several reasons why the path forward for return seems to hold so many barriers. Still, a supportive returner programme for talented professionals upon their return to the workplace is a great opportunity to engage, retain and develop your returners not just upon their return but within the future of your business and its brand.

# career returner programmes # Succession Plans # Diversity Of Perspective # Extended Career Break #Development Programmes

Boost To The UK Economy Supporting Returners Would Have:

The boost to the regional economy if this maternity returner market was engaged

£100 million Yorkshire & Humber
£150 million North West

Why not contact MMB Magazine to deliver the MMB Returner Programme In-House in your business find out more here or why not advertise your businesses returner programme on our MMB Returner programme directory.


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