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How to succeed in work/life after children in architecture


Book now for the free AJ Women in Architecture back to work seminar on Thursday 10 October - RSVP essential

Christina Seilern, founder of Studio Seilern, recent winner of The AJ Future Reception contest, will be taking part in the free event which will explore how to get your career back on track after maternity leave or a career break.

Susan Le Good, associate director at AHMM, and Peter Murray, director at Stanton Williams, will also be joining the panel.

Retaining talented women architects once they have children is a crucial issue for the profession, and the seminar, taking place on Thursday 10 October at 10am-midday in central London, will address the best ways of doing this. 

Peter Murray will discuss successfully managing staff during life-changing events at a growing practice, while Le Good brings a practice-wide view of recruitment requirements for AHMM.

Other panellists include Hannah Lawson, The AJ’s Emerging Woman Architect of the year 2012 and a director at John McAslan + Partners, who will be speaking about building a successful career after maternity leave.

Tamsyn Curley, director at Place Careers, will discuss flexible working as well as managing career breaks on your CV, and planning a successful return to work.

The discussion will be chaired by The AJ editor Christine Murray.


It will consider emerging trends in part-time and flexible working as well as managing a successful return to work. It will also look at childcare tips and pressure points, as well as building confidence during and after maternity leave or more extended career breaks.

The seminar will be of particular interest to employers wanting to learn more about best practice and retaining talented staff, women who have recently returned to practice - and women who are currently on maternity leave or about to go on leave.

According to the latest AJ Women in Architecture survey, 89 per cent of women respondents think having children puts women at a disadvantage in architecture, and 40 per cent of women have had difficulty resuming their career after having them.

To help change these statistics, book your place, here.


Readers' comments (5)

  • The issues here go further than just maternity leave, as many staff need to take long periods of leave to become carers, to deal with family matters, or illness. What is needed is a sensible approach to retention of staff and a structured way of keeping in touch - and rebuilding lost confidence -perhaps through mentoring.
    It makes good business sense to retain and support established staff members rather than replace them, as flexible support and encouragement from employers engenders staff loyalty. We need to talk about this more.
    Jane Duncan RIBA Equality and Diversity Champion

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  • I don't know why no one ever tends to remember the impact on men after having children. It is generally accepted that men would return to work after paternity leave; it seems unthinkable that they may want to work part-time as well as they may want to spend some time with their child! This scenario did happen to us, and we offered part-time and flexible working options to both our male and female staff.

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  • I would like to add further to Rogers point. In some instances for those of us with a wife/partner with a successful career in the non architectural world, given the relatively low pay in our profession and high childcare costs, it wouldn't take much of a shift in the balance for it not to be worthwhile for the father to return to work as an architect, but instead look after the family and support the wife/partner in their role.

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  • Christine Murray

    Men and employers looking to discuss childcare and flexible working are, of course, welcome to come along to the event. The seminar is part of the Women in Architecture programme because in our 2012 survey, 89% of the women surveyed said having children put them at a disadvantage in architecture, but just 34% of the men with children surveyed said it put them at a disadvantage.

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  • Balancing the architectural world with a successful well paid wife and family put enormous pressure on men of our profession too.... on occasions its almost enough to put the pen down :-)

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