Returning to work is daunting for many women. The emotional pull of leaving their baby in childcare, the fear of balancing work and home commitments, and the unknown of how their industry/job has changed in the time they have taken out.

Employers can be unreasonable in their expectations. Putting in place little support, inductions, or training means that there can too often be a sink or swim mentality.

In PR, where women dominate the workforce, but males still dominate the very top positions, it is critical that we support better pathways back to work. This means thinking out of the box. Being more comfortable with flexible and new ways of working. Building career plans before AND after maternity leave. And being clear about expectations.

It also means that women need to take personal responsibility for their career. Lean-in while pregnant and write a plan for your maternity leave and return to work. Be clear in your mind about how work/home balance will work as you prepare to return to work. Be honest with your employer about  any concerns you have. Talk to other women about their experiences and ensure you have a strong network. Be clear about what is expected of you and then smash through those expectations (in a good way!).

Attracting and retaining the best talent continues to be one of our biggest challenges. So spending more time getting return to work pathways right should be a no-brainer for PR agencies. It is a top priority for me as a female leader.