Tapping the Hidden Talent Pool
‘Returnships’ are growing in popularity for companies striving to improve gender diversity, particularly at more senior levels of their organisation. According to return-to-work consultancy Women Returners for Employers, “returnships are higher-level internships which act as a bridge back to senior roles for experienced professionals who have taken an extended career break”. Women see them as a supported route back to a professional role with coaching, training and mentoring while employers can access an untapped and diverse talent pool. We believe that well run programmes can help address gender inequality in the workplace in the long term, advance equal parenting and reduce the pay gap.
PwC’s Women Returner’s Report in 2016 revealed that 3 in 5 professional women returning to the workforce are likely to move into lower-skilled or lower-paid roles. Returnship programmes, together with more flexible working opportunities, can help address this and we are seeing some progress. There were only 3 returnship programmes launched in the UK 2014 growing to 37 in 2017 with financial services, transport, consultancies, law firms and media companies – you can see a full list here.