Most of my professional career was in the insurance industry for 20+ years based in Dublin, and then London. I started in General Insurance and moved to more niche areas in Underwriting Crisis Management risks, such as Kidnap for Ransom, Extortion, and Contaminated Products/Recall. I worked my way to an Underwriting Manager role, leading and developing a team and book of business.
In 2017 we decided to relocate to Edinburgh with the family, which resulted in a career break for me. I had not intended on a long break, but add in a new baby, a pandemic, and it became increasingly difficult to find my way back to the workplace. I also found myself hitting barriers getting back through the more traditional routes. There was a lack of options and flexibility, and if I applied for something different, I was either overqualified or would not even get a response.
During this time, I decided to start doing something that interested me, something to occupy my mind and give me some focus. I studied a Counselling course and another on Equality & Diversity, both of which I thoroughly enjoyed, and I feel helped me develop personally. The classes were on line at the time, but I found interacting with the group, participating in coursework and discussions helped my mindset and gave me back some confidence and drive to keep on looking at options.
I then discovered the Women Returners Programme and was inspired by the success stories from others in similar situations. It made me realise that there were opportunities out there, and I did not need to feel penalised or overlooked for taking a career break and wanting a work/life balance that suited me. I also took part in Career Boost Scotland Programme which helped me focus on what I wanted from my next role, my priorities, understand my own attributes and how to apply them. There was also more practical guidance on areas such as CV’s, interview preparation and Linkedin profile.
In December 2021 I attended an online networking event with Hymans Robertson, which was organised via the Returners Programme. I will admit, I was unsure at first, as it was a change of industry, I had no background in fintech or pensions, and my confidence had faded over the years. However, I focused on my strengths, transferrable skills, and the coaching that the returner programme gave me. After further research on Hymans, I decided I really liked the company culture and ethos, and applied for a role in their Insights & Analytics department, which I started in March 2022.
Hymans have been very supportive and inclusive, and the workshops with Women Returners also gave great guidance and helped with the transition. I feel my confidence has grown and I am remembering the skills, strengths, and experience that I have gained over my career. I am enjoying interacting with new people, the challenges of understanding the business, and how I can contribute and develop further. My overall mindset is more positive, and I look forward to further opportunities this experience may bring.
I would encourage others who may be facing similar challenges and doubts to give this route a try, it may open up wider opportunities and help you discover the next step in your career path.