At our 2019 Women Returners ‘Back to Your Future’ Conference, Claire Cohen, Women’s Editor of The Telegraph, interviewed five of our employer sponsors who have experience of running successful returner programmes: Bloomberg, Credit Suisse, FDM Group, Fidelity International and O2.
Read some of the highlights from the panel’s responses below (more to come in our next blog).
Why do employers run returner programmes?
“We were thinking about this talent pool that’s incredibly talented and has amazing skills and we thought we’re going to tap into this to help us solve one of our business problems. So we launched in 2014 and it’s been brilliant for us. We’re now in our sixth cohort and we have a fantastic group of alumni who’ve been through the programme and are active participants in our day to day work.”
“The proof is in the pudding. The more returnships we run and the more the hiring managers see the quality of the candidates coming into those programmes and what they can bring over and above another hire from another bank, or similar institution, is really valuable and I can only see that growing.”
What benefits do returners bring to the workplace?
“[Returners] come in with a really fresh pair of eyes. They can look at our processes and our systems and the way that we work quite differently and it’s a real breath of fresh air – that’s what we hear from our managers.”
“Another thing that I’ve seen is the enthusiasm when they come back and the fact that they bring so much – they want to give back to the organisation. I can cite several examples of our returners acting as mentors to some of the more junior women. They are active participants in key elements of our organisation.”
What are employers looking for in a returner candidate?
“I want flexibility of mind. You’re not the same person as before your career break. You want us to see this a positive so you’ve got to see that as a positive as well. Be flexible, be open! Your time out has taught you a lot.”
“We’re constantly looking at ways to improve things so any type of improvement or process improvement [including during your career break] that you’ve done will be really valuable to organisations.”
“Flexibility – we want to move people around the organisation so I’d really encourage people to be really open-minded about what they initially start to do because it could lead on to so many other things once you’re there.”
What have they have been surprised by when running returner programmes?
“I knew the talent was going to be good but it’s far surpassed what I thought. For me its been really eye-opening. We get to see these amazing resumes coming in all the time. The talent pool is truly outstanding and it’s very much untapped.”
“I never expected how much of an integral part of the community [returners] would be in terms of giving back to the organisation several years in. They’re really involved and engaged and willing to support those coming after them.”