Flexibility is the top priority for mothers reentering the workforce in the UAE, with 76.8 percent rating it as 5 out of 5 on the matrix. This insight comes from the recent survey findings released by UAE employment platform Beyond Careers. Alongside flexibility, other highly sought-after benefits include a positive work culture, fair compensation, and opportunities for career advancement.

The study, which was launched on International Women’s Day 2024, drew from a data sample of 115 responses, with nearly 92 percent of the respondents being mid-senior level female professionals residing in the UAE and aged between 31 and 50 years old. The survey also revealed that 56.2 percent of the participants have experienced pressure, harassment, involuntary job departure, or lack of job offers due to pregnancy or pre- or post-natal issues.

Rowen Nadia, the Founder of Beyond Careers, emphasized the importance of shedding light on the challenges faced by mothers returning to work to drive discussions on inclusion and address existing barriers. She highlighted that companies embracing forward-thinking approaches have the potential to enhance their corporate reputation and tap into a pool of experienced senior talent, even if time-restricted, by implementing people-centric systems and policies. Nadia added that they are positioned to support employers in creating fair workplaces and serving as the preferred platform for candidates seeking flexible and purposeful opportunities.

The survey reflected the diversity of the UAE, with respondents representing 29 different nationalities, sharing their perspectives on various pertinent topics. These ranged from perceptions of the gender pay gap to the importance of raising awareness about women’s health and related matters in the workplace.

Given that women predominantly bear primary caregiving responsibilities, 64.7 percent of the respondents admitted to being affected by or postponing family planning due to inadequate support in their professional environments.

The Return-to-Work Survey was conducted in collaboration with the British Chamber of Commerce Dubai, led by CEO Katy Holmes. Holmes highlighted two emerging scenarios in Dubai - highly experienced women seeking to return to work while juggling time constraints, and company founders in need of senior counsel on a part-time basis.

Notably, the UAE has made considerable progress in advancing women's empowerment and gender balance. In line with this endeavor, business leaders are urged to play their part in supporting national objectives and commitments by implementing people-centric systems and policies from the top-down.

Enterprises in the UAE, such as Marc Ellis, provide tailored career coaching services to enhance the resumes of women aiming to rejoin the workforce, ensuring a comprehensive showcase of their skills and addressing any employment gaps. This approach aims to facilitate their reintegration into the workforce by securing positions that appreciate their experience while accommodating their personal commitments, as stated by Aws Ismail during a previous interview.