You can be a mother and career minded
MOTHERHOOD shouldn't put the brakes on your career.
Taking time away from your career to start a family doesn't need to impact heavily on your professional future.
However, it usually needs a company that promotes, rewards and pays based on achievements and performance rather than promoting incumbents or basing pay rises around time served.
The Federal Government offers generous leave payments for new parents and it's equally important for other employers to make parenthood less of a career hurdle.
Irene Saivanidis, recently appointed director of HR, training and internal recruitment for Hays Asia-Pacific had only been in her new role five weeks before leaving last month on maternity leave.
She has been with Hays almost 18 years. "I had been on promotion criteria for the role before I found out I was pregnant," Irene said.
"I had achieved all the key objectives for the promotion and I felt confident being pregnant would not be a barrier to the promotion.
"While I would like to think there is nothing remarkable about my appointment, the reality is this is a significant action and one that doesn't happen often in corporate Australia."
Despite the number of women in senior leadership positions being extremely low in Australia, Irene believes her promotion is a great advertisement for female career advancement and motherhood both at Hays and with their clients.
"I'm delighted that I've been so overtly recognised for my experience and I'm happy to be able to tell my story because it gives other people in our organisation and outside our organisation an indication of what we can achieve," she said.
"We've always said that Hays is a meritocratic culture which means you will be promoted, rewarded and paid based on what you achieve and how you perform rather than anything else and I think my promotion demonstrates ... we are practising what we preach."
Hays says its work practices have many benefits including reduced absenteeism, increased productivity, retained skilled staff and reduced training costs, reduced staff turnover, increased morale and job satisfaction, attraction of new employees and recognition as an employer of choice.
Two-thirds of the company's staff are female, with 96% of those taking maternity leave returning within six months on a flexible arrangement.