How line managers can ensure maternity leave doesn't stall female career progression

Updated: Nov 29

While most organisations spend heavily on onboarding programs for newcomers and graduate recruits, not as many pay the same level of attention to re-integrating employees after parental leave.


Imagine that, due to a temporary absence from your workplace, your highest performing team member leaves and joins a competitor; you are now left with the unenviable job of finding her replacement whilst trying to hold together shaky team dynamics, and yet another female leader fails to make it to executive level.

A loss of career progression, a reduced sense of belonging and dip in confidence are the reality for many women reviewing their career plans after maternity leave. Her relationships with senior partners, who she had previously worked closely with, are now significantly worsened. Her colleagues, who once saw her as capable and confident, no longer hold the same beliefs. Her work life balance is non-existent and she is worried burnout will soon be knocking at the door.

Your role as a leader of people is a critical in ensuring a brilliant experience of so many talented women, and they are not left feeling frustrated and disappointed.

The cost of replacing an employee is upwards of £30,000, and with more than 75 percent of new mothers leaving their employers after childbirth, your actions matter.