Why women need a childproof career

The gender pay gap and superannuation gap exist because women are the primary caregivers for children. Learn how to childproof your career

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Have you ever thought about having a childproof career? It’s an interesting question to ask yourself but one that actually needs some serious attention.

We know that starting a family has a big impact on our career and financial position, and women in particular have some important considerations to make when it comes to childproofing their careers.

The gender pay gap and superannuation gap are compounded in Australia because women take on the majority of primary caregiver responsibilities for children.

Research has shown that in blind studies, female candidates with children are paid the least.

It’s called the motherhood wage penalty.

This is due to stereotypical assumptions around their commitment, career ambition, and preference or ability to continue working after having children.

In Australia, women who become mothers do so typically between the ages of 25 and 34.

For many women, this coincides with the first decade of their career, when they are starting to achieve recognition and career success.

By making well-informed decisions on how you combine family and work, you can ensure that you are thriving in both. Here’s some tips that can make a difference.

1. Share care

Men sharing care and taking on part-time work to do so is a growing trend.

It’s becoming more common for professional couples to share care through each combining a part-time work week with some day care.

For dual career professionals there are a lot of benefits to this approach.

It enables both people to continue their career progression, preserve the currency of their skills and experience, participate hands on in raising their children, and maintain their income and superannuation contributions.

2. Plan ahead

Communicate with your partner regarding your preferences about combining family and work.

Research your employer’s workplace policies and attitude towards working parents.

Do they offer paid parental leave?

Is there a supportive policy in place, but an unsupportive culture?

Diverse City Careers is an organisation that only advertise jobs with Australia’s best employers for women.

Companies who advertise on their job board have been vetted, and also publish their workplace policies on the site for prospective employees to review – before they apply!

3. Have a financial strategy

Consider your current financial commitments and income, and how this may change based on your preferred method of combining work and children.

It’s a great idea to start saving early for the additional expense of children, potential time out of the workforce and figuring out where you may need to cut back on your household expenditure.

How will you continue to make superannuation contributions so you don’t fall behind?

4. Stay current and continue learning

If you are thinking of taking an extended absence from the workforce, maintaining currency of your professional skills will ease your re-entry to the workforce.

Both because it will reassure employers, and you will feel more confident.

5. Consider a portfolio career

If you haven’t heard the term before, a portfolio career means combining a number of different flexible work options.

It’s also a growing trend. People who choose it are combining part-time, freelancing, self employment, contract work and perhaps also some Board directorship roles.

The benefits are flexibility, a diversified income stream, variety and the opportunity to expand your networks and transition to other industries.

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