Mums retrain to find more meaningful jobs

Over a third of working mums have retrained after having children and many more are considering it, according to a survey.

The poll of nearly 2,000 mums found education and health were the main sectors women were looking to retrain into, with helping others, term-time working and job satisfaction being big draws, although a significant number currently working in the education sector were also looking to retrain.

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Gillian Nissim, founder of, said: “We have consistently been struck by the high numbers of mums who are looking to retrain after having children. It is interesting to note the reasons. 

“Flexibility is high, but the top reason given is that mums want a more meaningful job. Hence the popularity of sectors such as education and health. They are also seeking career progression and change. Parenthood is a time of great change and triggers a lot of careful reflection. Employers would do well to nurture those employees who are going through similar transition periods.”

Although the top reason given for retraining was changed values (35 per cent), other popular reasons were that respondents were looking for a career change (28 per cent) or were fed up with their job (27 per cent). 

Long hours, inflexible working in their current job and lack of career progression were also mentioned. 

The most popular time for seeking retraining was when respondents’ children had started school, a quarter said this was what prompted them to retrain. Other reasons included marital breakdown, redundancy and pregnancy.

Respondents had researched their training options mainly via search engine. The majority retrained in the classroom (56 per cent), although around a quarter had done online courses. Several had mixed different training options. A third had paid nothing to retrain and some had done their retraining in house, but 60 per cent of those who paid spent over £500.

Most of those who retrained spent up to seven hours a week on retraining. Most were very happy with the retraining they received.

The survey also found that 81 per cent of those who had not retrained yet were considering it. Most were looking for flexibility (52 per cent), working from home (45 per cent) or higher earnings (39 per cent).

Online was the favourite form of retraining chosen by 65 per cent and most wanted to devote no more than seven hours a week to retraining. However, the majority would not pay more than £500, with a third willing to pay between £100 and £500.

The survey was prompted by findings in’s latest annual survey which showed 65 per cent of respondents were interested in retraining and almost a third had retrained in the last year.


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