A local businesswoman has hit back at claims that Tandridge is awash with yummy mummies.
A recent survey by the Office for National Statistics revealed that the leafy East
Surrey enclave is the housewife capital of the UK.It didn’t take the national press long to jump on the findings and paint a rather generalised picture of Oxted in particular.
So does it really mean the majority of women here spend all day, every day, chatting over coffee or booking beauty treatments?
While there’s no doubt a small section of the local community enjoys a lifestyle more akin to that of the residents of Wisteria Lane in Desperate Housewives, local entrepreneur Nici Jupp says don’t be fooled.
“Many women I know are searching for part-time work locally in order to use the skills and experience they gained during their career. These individuals bring experience in excess of the job specification.
“For businesses willing to offer flexibility, the quality of candidates increases immeasurably. There is a definite appetite to work from many who stand at the school gates daily. I should know, that was me. It is matching this desire, with companies who are in a position to offer flexible roles and see its benefits.”
Mum of three Nici, who’s just set up her own recruitment business based in Oxted, specialising in putting professional people into part time positions, says there’s an untapped workforce here.
One Oxted resident, Andrea Oxlade, a former entertainment journalist at ITN, says moving out of London doesn’t necessarily spell the end of your working life, if that’s what you want.
While interviewing the likes of George Clooney had its plus points, mum-of-two Andrea realised the combination of late night showbiz parties and the school run was never going to mix.
For Andrea, it was a case of re-inventing herself and putting her entertainment industry ambitions on hold.
She says, “Those who can afford to take the role of yummy mummy and be satisfied, are lucky in the extreme. I have come to know many women who have adapted their careers to fit in with their children, even if it means doing something completely different, and in a part-time capacity, utilising the skills they have already garnered.
“I know for a fact, there is an army of female workers bridging that part-time work gap or volunteering and loving every minute.”
Andrea has found flexible work with Hamways, an Oxted-based property management company, whose workforce is made up of many skilled mums.
She adds, “I probably worried more about what other people would think – `why has she thrown away her career`. The fact is, I haven’t. I’ve just adapted it to meet my needs. I feel lucky to be employed.”
Local businessman Ed Heaver, Director of Serve Legal, says employing people on a part time basis has been a real asset: ‘Across the country there is a sea of undiscovered talent – they are experienced, well-educated individuals sorely missed by industry and business.
“Offering part-time work has given me a competitive advantage and access to talent that I could not have found anywhere else.”