In the last couple of months three of my friends have been made redundant.
These women were all highly paid, tertiary educated professionals, working in their respective fields as managers for over fifteen years.
Redundancy was the last thing they saw coming. They weren’t in that dangerous ‘middle management’ area which a restructure usually obliterates. No, they were highly skilled specialists. So it begs the question…”Why did the axe fell on them”?
It’s pretty obvious really. What would three 35+ year old professional women have in common (apart from a love of Sex and the City and Sauvignon Blanc)?
They were on Maternity leave.
The term ‘sitting duck’ springs to mind. One of my friends was back from maternity leave for just two days when she was given her marching orders!
I guess it’s much easier to get rid of someone who hasn’t been around for nine+ months. Management can convince themselves they don’t really need that particular position if the ‘owner’ of that job isn’t in their face day in, day out to remind them what an awesome job they’ve been doing for the last few years.
I’m not the only one noticing what’s happening to women in Australian workplaces. The Herald Sun had this to say.
So, I’ve been observing the repercussions being made redundant has had on my friends.
Maternity leave can play havoc with a woman in many ways. I know, because I’ve been there myself. You start to lose your sense of identity, your sense of purpose…. and your mind a little bit! The thought of going back to work fills you with a sense of anticipation and excitement you never thought possible pre-kids!
(Work = excited = What the?!)
However, what concerns me the most is that women take a significant hit financially when on maternity leave. Their pay stops (immediately in my case or for some ‘lucky’ ones, after a few months), and their superannuation goes BACKWARDS thanks to no contributions yet ongoing admin fees.
Being made redundant is just the icing on a terrible tasting cake. Take these three women as an example. They spent at least four years at Uni, a small fortune on HECS and fifteen years of HARD SLOG to get to where they were. Yes, they made the ‘choice’ to have children, but hey, is it really a choice when men don’t have a uterus?
Now they find themselves trying to find another job whilst having at least two children under four years of age. Lack of sleep and time is not helpful in this process. They continue to watch their superannuation diminish and bank balance drop and wonder why having children with their partners came with such a high personal price tag.
So, what does this mean for you, as a woman, or a man with a special lady in your life who you want to advise.
Super, Savings and Smarts.
Use every opportunity that you have to maximise your superannuation while you are earning. Whether you end up living happily ever after with your partner or not, your super is probably going to be less than his, so make every cent count. (Take a leaf out of Super-Annuation-Woman’s book).
Use every opportunity to save before you go on maternity leave. Every dollar pre baby will be worth more than you imagine post baby.
Stay Smart. Make sure that you and your partner are talking about what happens with the finances while you’re on maternity leave. Make sure that you consider what you’ll do if you are made redundant. Remember….there’s not much love lost between companies and their staff these days, so mitigating any risks you can is a worthwhile process.
We’d love to hear your take on this wave of redundancies that we’re noticing. Feel free to comment below if you’ve got a take on all of this…
And, if you’re looking for financial advice, from someone passionate about female finance, you’re in the right place.
You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 0421 208 640.