Stop overlooking candidates on maternity leave

By Grace Marshall | Sourcing Optimisation at

It’s time to stop overlooking those who are on maternity leave. You’re missing out on a significant number of candidates who are ready to change their job.

There’s no doubt about it, maternity leave significantly affects the majority (61%) of working mother’s job roles.

When we acknowledge that mothers who work in female-dominated fields such as teaching and nursing tend to return to their pre-maternity roles after their leave, it suggests that women in remaining sectors like technology and business are more likely to be interested in changing their roles

Given that 5% of women in the Australian workforce are mothers to children under 2, there is a substantial pool of talented individuals who are likely contemplating their next career move.

This is where TAs and recruiters come in.

All statistics from ABS

77% of people say that a company’s parental leave policy affects their decision when it comes to employment, yet 40% of Australian companies do not offer any form of parental leave still.

For TA’s and Recruiters who work with companies that are supportive towards working parents, this gives you a fantastic opportunity to attract a large chunk of the workforce and attract top talent (side note: if you’re company doesn’t offer this, you absolutely should, it’s good for your company and society.)

A strong parental leave policy, flexible work arrangements and a supportive environment is a fantastic EVP to bring to those who are on maternity leave, or just coming out of it.

Approach women who are either preparing for maternity leave, currently on leave, or have recently returned to work, with a passive outreach message. You can then begin to nurture them and keep these candidates warm by having regular check-ins, providing invitations to company and industry events and letting them know about job opening at your company.

This is a candidate you likely want to keep at arms length, so don’t harass them too often, but be sure to keep in touch so you know when the timing is right! There’s two key great thing about nurturing new mothers. Firstly, because of the timeline on maternity leave you’re more likely to have a time-frame on the hire. You’re also more likely to convert candidates because 38% are wanting to change their role. Secondly, mothers have often honed their interpersonal skills such as time management and conflict resolution during their maternity leave, making them highly proficient in these areas.

If you’re keen to be more proactive in finding these candidates, we’ve got a couple different ways you can find new mothers (and fathers!).

  1. LinkedIn.
    It’s nearly everyone’s first port of call, try searching for “maternity” “mat leave” or “parental leave.” You’re likely to find someone who’s made a post about going on, or coming back from maternity leave.
  2. Your Search Tool
    Search tools like may offer keyword searching, or even a filter that helps you locate candidates. You’ll easily be able to find candidates who have updated their profile to include this.
  3. Maternity Leave or Mum & Bubs Groups
    Log into the Facebook, Discord or other relevant networks and see if there’s any local maternity groups, or even ones that are specific to your industry to help you find & locate possible candidates.

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