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The results are in: your Returner Survey update

The results are in: your Returner Survey update

Following your overwhelming response to our Returner Survey, we’re pleased to announce that the results are in! Your input has given us fantastic insights into how employers can make a huge difference to women’s experiences of returning from maternity leave and we’d like to take this opportunity to update you on our key findings.

More than 850 returning mums completed the survey, which asked about the support they received from their employers after maternity or adoption leave and the impact it had on their well-being and performance.   While the results highlight huge disparities in the approach employers take to returning mums, our headline findings are as follows:
  • An encouraging 70% of respondents were offered part-time contracts upon their return to work. However, 71% felt their employers could have done more to support them.
  • Only 54% were offered flexible hours and just 27% the option of a gradual return to work. This suggests employers still have some way to go towards offering working patterns that enable returners to deliver their goals around the demands of their lives outside work.
  • A huge 84% of returners said they needed additional training on new products or systems but only 27% received it, meaning that more than half of returners were expected to adapt to changes in the workplace without key information.
  • Only 14% of mums said they were offered a “welcome back” lunch and only 32% were introduced to new staff. However, 60% said that these seemingly small steps would have put them at ease and made them feel more valued.
  • 55% of returners who did not feel supported left their company, compared to just 10% of those who felt very well supported. Mums who felt they were not well supported were also twice as likely to leave within three months of returning.
  • Even if mums stay in their role, inadequate support can have a negative effect on their engagement and performance. 73% of returners who were not well supported said their engagement dropped after going back to work, whereas a quarter of mums who were well supported said their engagement actually increased.
  • Meanwhile, 21% of supported returners said their performance had improved, compared to just 15% of those who were not well supported.
These results clearly show that a positive experience is not just good for mums, it’s good for business. That’s one of the key messages Successful Mums will be taking to employers in the coming months. Another important message is that “softer”, personal support – such as “welcome back” drinks, regular catch-up meetings and introductions to new members of staff – can be just as important as the practical steps of offering flexible working or a gradual return. Personal touches show that employers understand and appreciate returning mums’ experiences and can make them feel more comfortable, welcome and respected.

In our new training courses for employers, Successful Mums will be talking about the huge difference these small steps can make. We’re determined to spread the word that implementing an effective return-to-work programme for mums does not have to be difficult or expensive: it’s all about being open-minded, flexible and sensitive to returners’ needs.

We want to thank you all once again for your contribution to this project and will keep you posted on our progress. In the meantime, we’d love you to share our findings on social media, with your friends, employers and other parents. Lastly, if your employer would like to get involved, they can contact us at to find out more.

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