Our CEO Jane Wylie-Roberts was honoured to appear on the Stephen Jardine Radio Show as the resident recruitment expert, sharing her thoughts on the challenges women may face when returning to work after a career break.Explore our perspective on the importance of aiding women returners, how you will benefit from hiring a returner, and how you can help professional returners in their career development.
Returners are those who are getting back into work after a significant career gap – much of the time, they are women going back to work after caring for children or loved ones. In fact, 550,000 professional women in the UK are on extended career breaks for caring reasons. This means that more so than men, women face limitations when it comes to their career development – this is referred to as “the career break penalty”.
According to PwC, addressing the career break penalty could boost female earnings by £1.1 billion annually, equivalent to £4,000 per woman. Subsequently, the multiplier effect from the higher earnings and spending power of these women would generate gains of £1.7 billion to the UK economy. In addition to this, organisations who invest in female returners add to their own economy - companies often lose money investing in female employees only to lose them before they reach senior management positions. By hiring a returner you save your organisation money in the long run - women returners already have the skills that a new employee may take years to learn.
Why is it so difficult for returners?
Albeit impressive backgrounds, 10-20 years of experience and the relevant qualifications, a common theme can be seen across the UK – returners are being dismissed by employers for candidates with more recent experience. This is due to the perception that a CV gap is associated with a deterioration of skills. Instead of building an experienced workforce, this oversight has actually created a pool of untapped female talent in the UK. In recent years, more is being done to help these women returners into work, with more progressive companies offering “returnships” in order to take advantage of this gap and recruit experienced professionals.
With fewer than one in five women feeling confident returning to work after maternity leave, women returners often face a lack of conviction in their skills. Albeit the case, returners actually report that within four to six weeks they have regained their professional confidence and skills. By helping returners back into work, you can provide them with the opportunity to build their confidence and regain the skills they once had.
In the UK, 3 in 5 professional women return to lower-skilled or lower-paid jobs following their career break - this means that once they've returned to work, they often face a lack of opportunities and promotions. A recent study by Harvard Business School found that highly educated mothers are more likely to leave companies when they are passed over for high-profile work. Returners are experienced in their roles, so by valuing their skills you will have a driven, talented workforce who are likely to have longevity in their role.
What’s in it for you hiring a returner?
Much of the time, returners are those who are juggling multiple roles at once. They are raising children, running a household and holding down a full-time job. Returners are the most hardworking staff – they offer you a motivated and enthusiastic workforce ready to throw themselves back into work. Additional to this, by hiring a returner you are recruiting an individual who is talented, qualified and can bring a fresh perspective to the organisation. There’s nothing like diversity within an organisation, and recruiting a team from a range of backgrounds creates an innovative culture.
How can you help women returners?
That may seem like common sense, but the first way you can help returners is by hiring them, Don’t disregard their career gap as a lack of skills, but instead view it as additional experience that they have over other applicants. We can help match you up with a variety of capable candidates who are ready and raring to get into work.
And, you can make your employee’s return to work a positive experience by offering them training and support to regain their confidence and skills. In return. their job satisfaction will be higher and they will be more likely to repay their service to the company in longevity.
Women often end up in lower-skilled positions once returning to work due to a lack of flexibility in highly-skilled roles. By offering flexibility, it allows returners the ability to balance their responsibilities with their career and helps battle any limitations they may face. Stafffinders offer a variety of both temporary and permanent roles and offer the possibility of flexible working. This means that we have a wide range of talented and experienced candidates raring to get back into work.
To find out more about the top candidates we have returning to work, get in touch. We may have your perfect candidate just waiting for you.