Recruitment Grapevine | Executive Grapevine International Ltd

Stamping out the parenthood penalty

Meet the firm who specialises in recruiting Mum and Dad...

Stamping out the parenthood penalty


Nearly one in three UK bosses admit that they have or would reject female applicants because they suspect that she ‘might start a family soon’ according to a study carried out by law firm Slater and Gordon.

In the UK, it is estimated that 76% of professional women, want to return to work after being on a career break. This figure doesn’t even include the number of full-time Dad’s thinking of returning to work as well.

Simon Gregory, Managing Partner at GPS Return, decided to put his efforts towards helping this cohort, by creating a recruitment firm that specialises in helping parents return to work. “We speak to candidates on a daily basis who want to get back to work after having children, but have no idea where to start,” he explains.

“Our aim is to guide parents through every step of the process. Through either group workshops or 1-1 sessions, we begin by helping parents decide what it is they actually want to do. We guide them through the job search and application process from how to update a CV to how to actually find and apply for a job that excites them. Additionally, we help with interview skills, including how to answer any tricky questions that may be asked as a result of being on a career break.”

On top of bolstering candidate confidence, GPS return also work hard to educate their clients on the benefits of hiring returning parents on a flexible basis. “An increasing number of people are looking for flexible work and so it’s imperative that companies actually offer the benefits that job seekers are looking for,” Gregory continues. “Otherwise, it will only be the ones that do who will be able to attract the best candidates in what is widely known as a candidate short market.

“Research reveals time and again the benefits to both employer and employee from offering flexible working arrangements. Not only does it just keep people happy, workers are actually more productive, moral is higher, there is a lower level of absenteeism and in turn, profits are higher.”

Although Gregory is witnessing that employers’ attitudes are changing, there is still a long way to go. “Communication and trust between employee and employer are key, especially in terms of expectations. Allowing employees to work in the office four days a week, but still expecting five days worth of work from them is unfair and builds up resentment,” he said.

“Ultimately speaking, if we can enable parents to return to work in roles that take advantage of their skills experience, and give companies access to a more productive and profitable work force it is estimated, by PWC, that this will have a £1.7billion impact on the economy. That’s gotta be worth doing, right?”