The issue of the career-woman who has children and does not know how to choose between the career and the family is well known. Nowadays, there are certain trends that are well worth mentioning in this respect. One is an innovative employment strategy, which comes to meet a specific request in Belgium.
At the same time there is a new type of company - relatively young, about 10-15 years, with fairly young management of up to 40 years. These SMEs, with 30 to 40 people, have grown successfully, especially due to globalization and the presence of founders in daily management.
Before I explain about the synergy between the ‘career-woman with children’ and ‘flexible companies’, a bit more background is appropriate: in Belgium elementary education starts at 8:30 and ends around 15:30 on every day except Wednesday, when the educational program is from 8:30 to 12:00. So, do you want to employ a highly educated mother who has young children? Her ideal job is from 9:00 to 15:00, four days a week. Like this, she can bring children to school or kindergarten, but also to take over at the end of their program in order to supervise homework or extracurricular activities that all children in Belgium do (swimming, athletics, music classes, etc.). Wednesday is the day for administrative work.
How are things in the company? There is a clear tendency to ‘disturb’ the CEO, often with little - but important - things for the performance of the business. Things he or she does because it is faster and better to deal with it yourself, rather than to delegate them to others. Companies try to have an extra person like a personal assistant, or a student / trainee who wants to learn, but this fails most of the time due to a lack of experience. It is thus more appealing to have a person with experience, but who is "quiet" in terms of getting "higher up" in their careers - at least for a few years.
This is why the Belgian market has so-called jobs of part time "shadow" Managing Director. Theoretically a 24/7 job, practically working hours are from 9.00 to 15.00, 4 days a week. Both sides, the career mom and the company management, are pleased with the arrangement.
Dan LUCA / Brussels