43% of Working Moms End Up Leaving Their Job — Here's Why You Need to Care

Photo Credit: Adobe Stock

By Fairygodboss

READ MORE: Paid leave, Paternity leave, Pumping, Health, New moms, Romy Newman, Working moms, Return to work, Maven

More than 75% of expecting mothers say they’re excited to return to work, but 43% end up leaving their jobs. Yet while it’s clear that new moms need more support at work, addressing the issue in a comprehensive way is no easy feat. That’s why Fairygodboss Co-Founder and President Romy Newman teamed up with Maven Founder and CEO Kate Ryder to host a webinar — How to Support New Moms When They Return to Work — that offers practical advice in three key areas:  

1. Why women leave their jobs — and why it matters when women leave their jobs

Fairygodboss research shows that the number one reason women leave their jobs is because they feel their work environment doesn’t support changes in their personal lives. Surveys also indicate that female jobseekers want more flexibility so they can advance at work and balance their family at the same time — and that all job seekers want best-in-class health benefits.

Newman explained why this should matter to companies: “If you’re advocating for policies and programs that support gender diversity, it’s always critical to tie it to financials,” she said, adding that having more women in leadership positions leads to more profit for companies.

She and Ryder shared data from The Boston Consulting Group that indicates that Fortune 500 companies with at least three female directors see a 53% increase in return on equity and a 42% increase in return on sales.

2. Women’s health in the workplace

Today, only 12% of employees in the country have access to paid leave — and even those who do take paid leave often have a very difficult time transitioning back to work. In fact, Maven has found that one in five women suffer from postpartum depression with no immediate access to treatment options, and 90% of women report separation anxiety when returning to work.

“Even men are actually looking at paternity leave and family benefits when they’re choosing their jobs,” Ryder said, adding that longer leave alone doesn’t solve the problem. Postpartum and return-to-work support are the most critical missing pieces of women’s health in the workplace, and phasing moms back into the workplace can help alleviate both emotional and physical stress and in turn improve retention.

Newman and Ryder stressed that this cannot fall entirely on the employee’s shoulders — managers, too, need to be held accountable for helping to provide additional support during this transition period.

3. Best practices for family-friendly work environments

The webinar focused on what companies can do beyond expanding their paid leave policies, illustrating what some postpartum and return-to-work programs look like. Fifth Third Bank, for instance, has a wildly popular maternity concierge program that helps pregnant women and new moms with their increased workload by shopping for groceries or taking care of other errands. Companies can do more to support breastfeeding moms who are pumping at work by improving their lactation facilities or shipping breastmilk for traveling employees.

Moreover, managers need to get in the habit of regularly checking in with employees who have just had kids — and need to let the returnee set the tone. “Some women who return from leave aren’t given new challenges and they feel discounted,” Newman explained. “It’s a difficult time to feel devalued at work.”

For more tips on how to better support new moms at work, view the webinar slides here.

Related Articles
Related Community Discussions
My company recently put in a nursing room/mother's room but

My company recently put in a nursing room/mother's room but it was designed in a way that the majority of the room is fogged glass - except one strip that runs right at sitting level that was left as transparent glass. I don't think it was done intentionally (men designed the room) but I now have to put up sheets of paper to cover the transparent strip of glass. Any idea on how to address this with my (all male) management team?

For moms out there who have breastfed and pumped at

For moms out there who have breastfed and pumped at work...curious how much you guys stored up in terms of breast milk before you went back to work. I heard that milk supply can dwindle so I've been pumping like crazy!

I recently came back to work after my maternity leave.

I recently came back to work after my maternity leave. It's a busy job, and I've been squeezing in pumping breaks in between meetings. Yesterday, my coworker actually asked to come into the pumping room to discuss a project since she couldn't find time on my calendar. How do I explain that this is NOT OK?!

I'm planning to pump when I go back to work,

I'm planning to pump when I go back to work, but I can't seem to get the baby to take a bottle. I have a few more weeks to get this sorted out - any advice for getting him to transition?

What are women saying about your company?

Popular Articles
Related Community Discussions
My company recently put in a nursing room/mother's room but

My company recently put in a nursing room/mother's room but it was designed in a way that the majority of the room is fogged glass - except one strip that runs right at sitting level that was left as transparent glass. I don't think it was done intentionally (men designed the room) but I now have to put up sheets of paper to cover the transparent strip of glass. Any idea on how to address this with my (all male) management team?

For moms out there who have breastfed and pumped at

For moms out there who have breastfed and pumped at work...curious how much you guys stored up in terms of breast milk before you went back to work. I heard that milk supply can dwindle so I've been pumping like crazy!

I recently came back to work after my maternity leave.

I recently came back to work after my maternity leave. It's a busy job, and I've been squeezing in pumping breaks in between meetings. Yesterday, my coworker actually asked to come into the pumping room to discuss a project since she couldn't find time on my calendar. How do I explain that this is NOT OK?!

I'm planning to pump when I go back to work,

I'm planning to pump when I go back to work, but I can't seem to get the baby to take a bottle. I have a few more weeks to get this sorted out - any advice for getting him to transition?