As a Talent Acquisition professional, what are your hiring experiences with stay-at-home dads or dads who are primary carers in their families? Would you consider hiring them for your next casual role?
A research report on stay-at-home dads in Australia was released earlier this year by the Australian Federal Government, and the findings suggested that existing gendered parenting attitudes are still an issue. Dads who take on the primary carer role are still viewed as “unmanly” and are finding it difficult to get work.
It is interesting how we talk a lot about diversity and gender equity these days but it seems we still have very traditional ideas about who works and who cares. Mothers typically put their careers on hold (either temporarily or permanently) when they have children, while their male husbands or partners continue to work full-time and the expectation is that the mother now puts children and family first before her own career.
There is certainly nothing wrong with this, and for many it is a choice both parents prefer and are happy with. However, I believe dads who are primary care givers have been unfairly stereotyped and they can still contribute a lot to the workplace.
Dilshan Dharmapala (pictured above), is a walking breathing example of a husband, father and recruiter who has put his wife and family ahead of his own career.
In 2017, Dilshan was Branch Manager at well-known recruitment agency Symmetry HR. The branch he managed won “Branch of The Year” and Dilshan was awarded the National Rising Star for 2017. His recruitment career was going from strength to strength. On the home front, Dilshan’s wife, Mary-Therese, was the primary carer for their two young children (Noah – 3.5 and Phoebe – 2) whilst working part-time.
An opportunity at Mary-Therese’s work opened up which was a step up for her – but the role could only be offered as full-time, not part-time.
“As soon as Mary-Therese mentioned the vacancy I told her that I was 100 percent behind her applying. For the last three to four years she had put her career on hold and I thought it was time for her to do something for herself,” said Dilshan.
Mary-Therese applied for the role, interviewed and got the promotion.
“At the time when she got the promotion, I wasn’t completely sure what it meant for me and the family, but I was very excited for my wife and the opportunity she was about to embark on,” he said.
Electing not to put their two young children in day care full-time, Dilshan explored options with his employer, but due to the nature of the role he wasn’t able to continue in it part-time and therefore had to resign from his position. A post he made on LinkedIn looking for part-time work as he moved to supporting his family and wife gained over 10,000 views and a received a lot of responses from people in his network who were trying to help him find work.
“It took a while but funnily enough, it led to me speaking to Just Mum’s Recruitment. They introduced me to Genius People and I’m now working there part-time and loving it,” he said.
Dilshan is grateful to have found a like-minded employer who is happy to provide the flexibility that he required as a primary care giver and both sides are reaping the rewards from this relationship.
Perhaps when you are next looking for that casual or part-time resource, this could be very useful Talent pool to tap onto.
Are you hiring stay-at-home dads or dads who are primary care givers in their families? Love to hear your thoughts below.
Cover image: Dilshan Dharmapala
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