The relationship between motherhood and work is one of the trickiest balancing acts there is for women. Climbing the corporate ladder and tending to a child takes stamina, ingenuity and the ability to multitask. All things that make you a great candidate, right? Unfortunately, many women face an uphill battle when attempting to return to work after having a child. While we’ve come a long way, many employers still discriminate (often covertly) against new moms. A 2018 study in Harvard Business Review found that women who tried to transition from being stay-at-home mothers were only half as likely to get a job interview than those who had been laid off, even if the absence from the workforce lasted about the same amount of time.
This situation is not uncommon. In fact, it has been reported that 43% of women leave their careers or “off ramp” for an extended period of time after giving birth. Luckily, there are myriad resources out there to help moms ready to return to the workplace. We’ve rounded up the best websites and marketplaces to get you back on the onramp to the next stage of your professional life.
Path Forward’s tagline is “empowering you to restart your career after caregiving.” Founded in 2016, this nonprofit works with both companies and job seekers to create “returnships,” (basically internships for adults) to help women who have been away from the workforce to learn new skills, and help companies find untapped talent they may have otherwise overlooked. Path Forward has worked with big name companies like Apple, NBCUniversal and PayPal to connect moms to jobs. Path Forward was founded by Marina Groothuis, a former stay-at-home mom who left a career in marketing to find that the twelve year gap in her resume was keeping her from new job opportunities. The organization has worked with over fifty companies to place women in new jobs.
Ellevate is a dynamic community that connects women across industries for discussion, mentorship, advice and meetups. With a belief that “when ambitious professional women get more opportunity … it ultimately benefits everyone and leads to a more equal world,” Ellevate can help connect women who have left their jobs to focus on motherhood get up to speed on current opportunities, and provide guidance and inspiration. Ellevate has been around for over 20 years, and is a nationwide organization with local chapters (great for new moms who need to stick close to home). Ellevate also has a daily newsletter and regular IRL meetups, so you can get out from behind the screen and back into the world. They also have corporate partnerships that connect women to job opportunities.
At ReacHIRE, they believe that “a career break shouldn’t be a career breaker.” This organization provides women ready to onramp with professional training, coaching, peer support and paid projects to help ease the transition and get experience. ReacHIRE works to reduce stigma around working motherhood, understanding that moving forward as a culture that supports women means respecting both motherhood and work. Through ReacHIRE, women have found jobs with companies like T-Mobile, Fidelity Investments and Boston Scientific. They also have an online resource center with expert guides and tips.
Ready to start working again, but feel overwhelmed by going full time? The Second Shift can help. The Second Shift pairs women who are standouts in their field (areas of focus include marketing, finance, strategy, creators and C-suite positions) to temporary or project-based opportunities with major companies. The Second Shift uses an algorithm to match women with opportunities that fit their expertise and interests. Women who use the network can pitch for opportunities, and set terms that work for them. The company helps handle the details (like invoicing and payment) and supports you through the process. They’ve worked to place women in short- term roles at Twitter, Salon, PJT Partners and Google.
Simplr helps connect remote workers across the country with companies that have customer service needs. It’s a great solution for women who want or need to work from home to move forward professionally, on their own schedules. It’s also an ideal way to fill in a gap on your resume and earn extra money, wherever you are in your professional journey. Simplr uses AI technology to help train and inform customer service best practices and provide individualized knowledge. To date, Simplr has served 305 million customers.
Even when you get your foot in the door, being a working mom can feel like an uphill battle. Creating enough time in the day so it feels like you’re meeting your goals both personally and professionally is a moving target, especially when Facebook, Instagram and trend pieces insist on telling you you’re doing it wrong. Working Moms Against Guilt is designed to lighten the load. WMAG is a platform and online community that offers support, resources and a list of mom-friendly organizations for those looking to onramp and feel good about it. The community has been active since 2006.
Founded in 2015, Fairygodboss was originally envisioned as a site for women to review their employers and experiences, à la Glassdoor. The organization still has that useful review feature, but since then has also become a social network for women looking to reenter the workforce. Fairygodboss has job listings, webinars, regular blog content and a host of useful resources (including a database of employer benefits). Members can also create a customized feed to see content that matters to them. This year, it was announced that the company had raised $10 million in Series A funding.
At Hire My Mom, women who are looking for flexible, part-time or remote work are paired with companies who need virtual help. The focus is on work you can do from home, to help bridge the gap when you want to go back to work but can’t commit to office life. The website does require a paid subscription, but Hire My Mom doesn’t take a cut of your earnings, so your whole paycheck goes right to your wallet. The company screens employers, which saves you the hassle of getting involved with a disreputable organization.
iRelaunch dubs themselves “the return to work experts,” and it’s easy to see why. With resume advice, career coaching and even an annual conference, this is a one stop shop for going back to professional life. iRelaunch works with companies as well as universities and associations, so you have an extra-large network of job opportunities to connect with. The company is committed to diversity and inclusion, and has a global community membership of about 70,000. Since 2007, they have worked with companies that have college-level internship programs to create a side-by-side, mid-level career internship, working with onramping moms and other adults looking to reenter the workforce. New members even get a free return to work starter kit.
The Mom Project helps connect women with companies who are dedicated to respecting work-life balance, an important perspective for mothers who are in the workforce. They work to match moms with both freelance and full-time job opportunities. The Mom Project also has a unique MaternityShip program, which helps to support parental leave by connecting temporary employees to cover the gap, so new moms can return to their former positions with less stress. Members can customize their opportunities by listing work/life factors that matter most to them, and The Mom Project uses an algorithm to provide the most suitable jobs.
Power to Fly focuses specifically on the tech sector, working with both startups and Fortune 500 companies to find talented women to fill technical roles. The platform features job listings, employer reviews, video chats and career coaching. Live chats with experts give you insight from the comfort of your own home while you find the best opportunity for you. The platform is active in twelve companies, and hosts events all over the world. They’ve placed women in roles with the likes of Hearst, Verizon and American Express.
It’s reassuring to note that at the heart of many of these platforms is an ethos of women helping women. Insight and opportunities from those who have been there before can help illuminate a path that can seem pretty foggy after focusing on child rearing. Going back to work after having a child can be difficult for many reasons, but with platforms that help you navigate the best opportunities and prepare you to go into any interview with confidence, getting back on the onramp is a little easier.
Laura Bolt is a Los Angeles-based writer and editor. A former staff editor at Details magazine, Bolt writes about culture, wellness and technology.