More than 15% of women with school-aged children are “under-utilised”, new statistics show, which could prompt a spike in the number of skilled, frustrated mothers becoming mumpreneurs.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 15.6% of women with children aged under 15 are unemployed or underemployed, which means they are not getting the extra work they want.
For all women aged 20 to 74, under-utilistion sits at 12.5%, which is 4.3% higher than for men.
According to Sex Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick, working mothers are regularly overlooked regardless of their skills.
“The ideal worker model here in Australia is fulltime, available 24/7, no visible caring responsibilities and, as a result of that, preferably male,” Broderick told The Australian Financial Review.
“If you can fit into that model then it’s reasonably easy, but if you want something more flexible – to pick the kids up from school or be there when they get home – those jobs are not easily available.”
“In school yards all around this country, I see mums who left the labour market at one level, trying to find work at a much less skilled level to find family-friendly commitments.”
Rather than lament over the lack of family-friendly jobs, more women are beginning to create their own. StartupSmart identifies three reasons that prompt women to become mumpreneurs.
Paid Parental Leave
The Federal Government’s Paid Parental Leave scheme had an immediate impact, with almost 50,000 women signing up for the scheme before its official commencement on January 1.
The Paid Parental Leave scheme is a government-funded entitlement for working parents who are the primary carers of a child that is born or adopted from January 1, 2011.
An eligible person can receive taxable Parental Leave Pay at the rate of the National Minimum Wage, for a maximum period of 18 weeks.
The scheme came under criticism for making employers act as the paymaster, but this was done to ensure women remain connected to their workplace while they are on leave.
Working parents who are full-time, part-time, self-employed, casual contract and seasonal employees will have access to PLP. So even if you work for yourself, you’re still eligible.
With unemployment tipped to rise, a small business lobbyist predicts an increasing number of new businesses will be started off the back of redundancy payouts.
Peter Strong, executive director of the Council of Small Business of Australia, says this is an ideal reason for women to become mumpreneurs, particularly in light of tough bank lending.
“The reality is that they won’t be getting money from the banks, unless [their business is] incredibly sound, with their house as collateral,” he says.
“Self-funding is about the only way to go, with the way finances are at the moment.”
“A lot of people are starting up on a little amount of capital. You don’t need a lot of money – you can run an eRetail business from your bedroom if you want to.”
Gender pay gap
A recent report by CommSec shows Australian men, on average, earn more than $13,200 than women. This is the biggest gap in 28 years, and is unlikely to close amid the mining boom.
According to the report, women take home just $1,165 per week. For men, the average pay packet is $1,417. Women take home 82.1% of the male wage – a 25-year low, CommSec said.
It’s difficult to find a bigger incentive for women to work for themselves than that.