What Industries Are Hiring Moms?

Working togetherWhat does a working mother need from a job? Flexible working hours, maybe the opportunity to work from home, and a paycheck that justifies the effort, perhaps with a side bonus of any child-related benefits such as paid maternity leave and daycare options. In short, what mothers need is the ability to balance between their job and their family. Here are ten industries that offer one or more of these benefits, according to several mom-focused websites.

First on the list is education. The education sector is hiring both teaching staff and support personnel. From elementary schools through to universities, there’s hunger for teaching talent. According to job search engine Indeed.com, for last June alone job postings in the area of education were 37% more than a year earlier. Teaching jobs are typically part-time, which leaves you enough time to spend with your family, even though you may often have to bring your work home — grading assignments and teaching plans, for instance. Still, you won’t be stuck in an office for eight hours a day, plus the daily commute, which would greatly reduce your chances for spending quality time with your kids. What’s even better, if you choose a career in teaching at school, you’ll get vacations and, if your kids are of school age, you’ll probably have the same schedule.

Marketing is another area that’s hiring right now, what with the digital revolution offering so many new ways of selling products and services. If you’re spending a great deal of time online and you have an interest in all things Internet, you could make a good fit for some company’s marketing department. And how about market research? Analyzing market data to spot trends and patterns that would help your employer get better bottom-line results is a good choice for detail-oriented moms, and many moms learn to be detail-oriented once they become moms and find themselves having to juggle more than a few responsibilities and schedules. Still in the digital area, there’s great demand for web developers. If you’re creative and tech-savvy, this could be the job for you. The best thing about this industry is that you can work from home and you can work as an independent contractor, getting a lot of freedom in terms of working time and much variety working on different projects.

Customer service is another area of opportunity for working moms. According to forecasts from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, by 2018 a total of 2.65 million people will be working in customer service. What it takes to be good at this job is something most moms have: social media knowledge and cultural know-how. Also, all industries seem to be looking for part-time staff, so bear that in mind. Outsourcing is booming, which is good news for anyone with freelancing ambitions, but if you don’t really want to work from home or on the move as a freelancer, you can get a part-time job in your area of expertise. On the one hand, a part-time job could help you rejoin the workforce step by step and with less stress, and on the other, it could be all you need to feel professionally fulfilled without compromising your time with the family.

woman telecommuting cartoonHow about an administrative job in the legal sector? A lot of law firms, according to the Working Mother website, are seeking administrative staff to help with restructuring and streamlining their work in a cost-cutting environment, so for those moms who are good at organizing work and believe they could make a company operate more smoothly and efficiently, this could be a good choice. The latest BLS figures are also encouraging for the legal sector: although it cut 300 jobs this February, it added 1,500 in January. To date, the law sector in the US has 1.136 million people working in it, which is 6,400 more than there were a year ago.

One sector that few would associate with women is manufacturing.  The manufacturing sector is hiring and is offering incentives especially for moms, because demand seems to be much larger than supply. The manufacturing sector offers high-skilled jobs that can be done by women and it offers good pay. To make the sector more appealing for mothers, manufacturers are ready to offer flexible work hours. The reason that the manufacturing industry has turned its attention to women is that what was before cheap overseas labor has started getting too expensive for them. At the same time, over the three years between 2010 and 2013, women’s participation in manufacturing slimmed to 27%, the lowest since 1971, according to the manufacturing Jobs for the Future report by the Joint Economic Committee. Although there is still a general prejudice against manufacturing as an industry that requires mainly physical strength and related skills, it may be time to reconsider. Technology has transformed every part of the industrial world, including manufacturing processes, so it’s technical skills that are more relevant today, not physical strength. While it’s true that most of these technical skills are highly specific and require training, manufacturing is yet another industry to consider when thinking about mom-friendly sectors.

Staying for a bit in the male-dominated world, there are numerous opportunities for working moms in the trades business. Few may have dreamed of being a plumber, but a licensed plumber makes more than $200,000 a year, the Working Mother website says, so such a job may be worth a thought. The trades industry needs people, according to Dina Dwyer Owens, owner of a holding company specializing in trade services, and it needs women specifically. Owens has organized an initiative, Women In The Trades, that aims at attracting more women to the industry which, perhaps, is most typically associated with men. And her initiative is not the only one out there. There are a few organizations that are offering training and workshops in the trades, such as Women Building Futures, as a way to encourage women to brave an area, and a well-paid one, that has been traditionally considered a no-go for them.

Going back to the service sector, car dealerships are also more and more interested in hiring women, given that various sources report that it’s women who are responsible for making about 80% of car purchasing decisions in America and also between 65% and 80% of decisions about the maintenance and repairs of autos. This, coupled with a spending power of over $5 trillion (Polk, 2012), with some estimates putting it at as much as $15 trillion (Nielsen, 2013), makes women a very important target group for car dealers. It makes sense to hire more women if you want to sell to women, after all. In fact, with the increasing spending power of women, it would be smart if more industries focused on hiring female sales and advertising personnel, because another statistic is that 91% of women are not really happy with how advertising is treating them as consumers.

Another sector, this time traditionally dominated by women, that is hiring is human resource management, especially recruiting. There are various suggestions why the human resources field has been an area more or less reserved for women and they all sound sensible. One possible reason is that women, being mothers, are genetically predisposed to be more caring and more apt at helping other people develop. Besides, women are said to be better communicators than men — again a genetic thing — so it just seems like we are better suited for human resource management. Another possible reason is that this field just doesn’t lend itself to gender discrimination so much. Whatever the reasons, statistics put the ratio of women in HR at 70% for the US, and there are no signs that the scales will be tipped in the other direction anytime soon.

Real estate is yet another area of business that is hungry for talent and could be a good choice for a mom. Flexible work time is there, and, like car sales and human resource management, it needs good communication skills. With the revival of the economy, the industry that in the minds of many sparked the financial crisis is now on a rebound, especially in commercial property, according to Working Mother, and it’s hiring.

woman on computer and making mealEverything seems to point to the fact that businesses across industries, even those traditionally reserved for men, are waking up to the value of female employees, and many are putting efforts into attracting more women, and specifically mothers, by offering them working conditions that are suitable for them. At the same time, the traditional concept of work as something that we do in an office over a fixed period of time is undergoing a radical disruption, with technological advancements making it possible to work anywhere and anytime for a vast range of professions. Gender stereotypes are giving way to a focus on getting the job done and done well. It looks like it’s safe to say things will continue in the same vein in the future, too, with the business world providing a host of job opportunities for working mothers.



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