When Nationwide invited women interested in digital careers to an event to mark Ada Lovelace day earlier this month, it was a call to action for those looking for flexibility and career advancement in the technology and digital space. However, this is only one part of the mutual’s push to encourage flexibility across the business. Nationwide’s decision to hold an event on Ada Lovelace day followed its announcement that it will invest £4bn in digital, data and technology, creating around 1,000 roles in the next few years. The building society wants to ensure a good proportion of those are taken by women. “We want to target those returning to work, whether that’s from maternity leave or a longer period of time taken for family or other reasons, as well as those thinking of switching to a career in technology,” says chief product owner for digital, Rachel Robinson. “We’ve committed to creating up to 1,000 new roles in technology, digital and data over the next two to five years. I would like it if a significant number of those roles went to women because we know women are under-represented in technology in the UK.” At the event, over 120 attendees listened to a morning of inspirational speeches from female speakers such as computer scientist Dr Sue Black OBE. This was followed by an afternoon of practical workshops on building an online profile, work life balance and interviewing skills. Yet this emphasis on encouraging women into flexible technology opportunities is only one strand of the organisation’s push to demonstrate its openness to flexible working. The impetus to do so comes from the top. Nationwide CEO Joe Garner says the mutual is proud that most women in the organisation return to work after maternity leave, many in flexible roles. He’s also encouraging new fathers to use flexibility for their family needs. “I am keen we are pushing the boundaries in this area, and I will actively try to help accommodate more flexible arrangements,” says Garner. “Often, I find that there is no ‘policy’ in the way…people just need to ask!” Nationwide is clear that diversity is good for the business – the mutual wants its workforce to reflect the society it serves. “Technology is changing the world and it’s part of making sure our members have a safe, secure place to save their money, finance their homes and manage their day to day finances. We need to keep up with changing expectations,” says Robinson. While part of the demand for talent will be fed by new graduates and the pipeline, the building society also wants to make opportunities available to women who have been out of the workplace for a period of time – whether that is three months or ten years. The issue is close to Robinson’s heart. She recently returned to work after having her son and says this has made her acutely aware of the challenges women face practically and emotionally when thinking about managing home and work. “I’m in a senior executive role and work a four-day week that’s super flexible because that’s what works for me and my family,” she says. “I’m not the only person in that situation – I work with lots of women and men doing three-day weeks in senior and junior roles, across different parts of the business. We’re interested in the individual, their experience and expertise first.” She is determined to ensure women know these opportunities exist. “Nationwide can help people manage their work-life balance and career ambitions. Many women would be really interested in opportunities at Nationwide but aren’t applying as they don’t see us as a technology employer or a flexible working employer.” Roles will be available at all levels of seniority and experience. While some will be in computer programming and engineering, they will also need project managers, finance professionals, risk managers, digital designers and researchers. There are huge numbers of different representations of flexible working across Nationwide – so from marketing to risk to technology the clear message for applicants is that they don’t need to be afraid to have that conversation. There are a variety of ways to work flexibly, from part-time to homeworking to job shares or shorter hours for frontline staff. For example, employer brand managers Sarah and Laura joined Nationwide’s People and Culture department in December 2017 as a job share, covering a full-time role between them. Before Nationwide, they had known each other for 20 years after meeting through work and have been job sharing for the past seven. “There’s always the opportunity to talk it through and have the conversation about how we can make things work,” says Robinson. “If people are interested in a role at Nationwide and have the right mix of skills and experience and attitude I would really encourage them to apply or chat to someone in the organisation – get in touch with our HR team.” While there are already several job opportunities live, Robinson says that the flow will increase in the next 18 months, making now an ideal time to get in touch. “This is the start of something,” she says. “What’s there now is the tip of the iceberg.” Check out the latest job opportunities available at Nationwide here.
There is undoubtedly an exodus from the workplace when women become mothers. Many are not able to return to their previous careers and achieve new goals – and we know that’s not always for want of trying. Reacquiring these highly capable women as your top talent is an essential component to help businesses large and small address the gender diversity challenge – and flexible working is certainly the key to unlocking this in the workplace. Flexible working – a hot topic frequently debated in the boardroom! Some are sold on the benefits, others grudgingly do the statutory minimum – seeing flexibility as an occasional necessary evil, not a smart strategy. Yet organisations are under pressure to recruit experienced women to senior roles and address historical gender imbalances. So, it’s not surprising that forward-thinking businesses are realising that flexibility is a way to boost productivity for all and attract the senior women missing from their organisations. “More than 80 % of mothers would choose flexibility over a pay rise.” Flexibility doesn’t have to mean unpleasant compromise for an organisation. There are genuine business benefits to flexibility, beyond accessing this hidden talent pool. Increased profitability: A recent study revealed that 83 % of companies who adopted flexible working saw an increase in profits. Save on staffing costs: Alternative approaches to the traditional 9-to-5 enables organisations to afford more senior people – the value of an experienced part-time mother can far outweigh the benefits of employing a full-time junior with little experience and high training needs. Better productivity: Studies show that flexibility is a real motivator for employees. It’s not surprising then that it engenders loyalty, improving retention and lowering absenteeism by enabling teams to work the way that suits them. <> The Business Case for Flexible Working Gender pay gap reporting is further thrusting the issue of gender disparity into the spotlight. In 2016 the UK government set a target of seeing 33% of FTSE 350 leadership roles filled by women by 2020. According to the Hampton Alexander Review, published in 2017, around 40% of executive appointments need to go to women if that is going to be achieved. Businesses offering flexible options are best-placed to recruit the senior women they need to achieve this goal. Flexibility comes in all shapes and sizes It may be that a full-time role spread over 12 months with August off, term time working, five shorter days, staggered working hours, job share or working from home – to name only a few possibilities. There is certainly no ‘one-size fits all’ to flexibility and with so many variations there is something to suit all businesses and people. Organisations should feel confident designing roles to suit their needs, instead of defaulting to full-time as standard. Let’s not also forget how technology has made it possible to work anywhere at any time, freeing employers to design roles that truly work for their business and their people. Discover the Mothers of our Hood Our mothers aren’t defined by the fact that they’ve had children. They’re skilled, experienced and highly motivated to succeed in the workplace - top talent for any organisation. The figures back this up: 89% have 10+ years’ experience, and they are highly educated. 82% have a degree, while 34% have a masters, 65% are in management and 22% in senior management or board level roles. About 2to3days With these benefits at the forefront, 2to3days is a social and economic movement. Our aim is to help close the void between business and motherhood by championing mothers’ career progression through flexible working. By harnessing the ‘Power of the Hood’ – our online community of 28,000 mothers and employers spread the word and share opportunities across their own networks. The results speak for themselves – employers such as Nationwide, KPMG, Shell and many other SME’s are already experiencing success with us. Adverts on 2to3days generate an average of 12 applications each, and 70% of our clients hire one of our mothers. We are not another ‘post and pray’ job board or an expensive recruitment agency. We care passionately about finding companies and motivated mothers to increase the performance of your business, repaying flexibility with high levels of experience and productivity.
We are thrilled to launch this exciting and much-needed returnship programme for lawyers who have had a career break. Created in partnership with six founding law firms the programme offers a 6 month contract with support and training throughout. Juliet Turnbull 2to3days Founder & CEO caught up with Lisa Unwin, one of the founders of the Reignite Academy, to find out more. What roles do the 3 founders play in the programme? Melinda Wallman is a former corporate lawyer and one of the leading legal search consultants in the London market, she’s known for placing senior women and has a tremendous network. She also runs the XX Advantage is a specialist diversity consultancy for the legal sector, and is passionate about helping women advance their careers. She’s chief salesperson. I founded She’s Back three years ago, to help shine a light on the untapped potential in women who’ve taken a career break. I’m a former management consultant and director of brand and communication at Deloitte, so my role is project management, comms, branding - making sure it happens. I’ll also be looking after some of the training. Stephanie Dillon is the founder or Inclusivity Partners and provides clients with high quality, flexible returner programmes. She is a former Director with multinational recruitment firms and is expert in recruiting for potential, seeing beyond a gap in someone’s CV. She will handle the recruitment side of things Why in particular did you select these six law firms - CMS, Orrick, Reed Smith, Macfarlanes, Sidley & White & Case? They selected us. We spoke to around 20 different firms. All could see the value. These 6 had practice leaders who really wanted to tackle what seems to be an intractable problem, were committed to making an impact and prepared to try something different. How many returnship positions are available with each firm? There is no cap. This is a pilot so we’re not looking for huge numbers at this point. It depends in part on how many great candidates we find. What level of seniority do the returners need to have reached prior to taking a career break to be eligible to apply? They have to be qualified with city or US firms but we haven’t specified that they have to have reached a certain level. Our expectation, though, is that most will have reached senior associate level, simply because that’s the level at which most women leave. Where in the UK will the work take place? Our programme is focused purely on London. However, I am aware of a different programme coming out later in the year which focuses on the regions (specifically Leeds and Manchester). How will the cohort keep in contact with one another if they are all working in separate companies? The cohort will undergo the initial training and induction together. We will also use the same coach or coaches to provide support during the 6 month period of work. At least one session a month will be held with the cohort together, possibly more if it makes sense. If job offers are made post-returnship will flexible working be an option? And if so what sort of flexible arrangements have been discussed with your clients It will depend on the role, the firm and the person involved. Generally, yes, there is an expectation that for many of the roles on offer there will be the opportunity for a degree of flexible working. What’s the vision for the Reignite Academy? Ultimately, we would love the Academy to be a routine way for professionals who have stepped away from their careers to find a way back. That would include the relevant training, coaching, work experience and, of course, jobs. At the moment we have 6 founder members and they are all law firms. Many lawyers work outside the profession, in-house and in other organisations. There is no reason our members will, in the future, exclude these other avenues for candidates to find work. Do the founders plan on rolling out the academy to other sectors? Let’s get this one right first. Seriously, there is no reason that the same sort of approach couldn’t apply to other sectors with similar characteristics. By that I mean sectors where there are large numbers of women (people) who have undertaken a degree of professional education, including achieving postgraduate qualifications who tend to leave those professions at mid-career levels and later wish to return. APPLY NOW
Ask any HR Director what is raising their blood pressure and the same items crop up time and again. Employee engagement, recruitment competition, talent pool shortage, diversity, gender pay gap, digital transformation, absenteeism management- all issues perpetually on the pain list of an HR Director. Smart HR Directors however are increasingly deploying a secret weapon to steal a march on the competition and ease their pain in one fell swoop! That secret weapon is designing roles with flexible working built in; when it comes to the future shape of the workplace, all roads lead to this. Whether part-time, remote working, staggered hours or any other option in the wide range of alternatives to traditional office 9-5 Monday to Friday pattern, all have the same result - improved profitability, productivity, employee engagement, talent attraction and talent retention. This is not simply anecdotal, study after study has found the same effect. Just consider some of the killer stats from organisations such as McKinsey, Deloitte, PWC, Stanford University and more. And with gender diversity and the gender pay gap high on the boardroom agenda, it is a critical option that employers must embrace to address this. Women are far more likely to want to work part-time at all levels and with companies that lead the way on gender diversity at a senior level amongst the top performers when it comes to profitability, it makes sound business sense. The obstacle most often encountered by an HR Director looking to unleash this secret weapon in a business is resistance from others that don’t understand the incredibly compelling business case. Even the government is weighing in, Rt Hon Nicky Morgan MP, Chair of the Treasury Select Committee, commented on one such recent study: “More women on executive committees boosts profitability. Businesses that don’t understand the need to appoint more senior executive women are failing to meet their full potential. I ask them to wake up to reality, in their own interests and the country’s interests." So, whether you’re an HR Director looking to attract and retain the best talent, increase productivity within your business, or simply expand the talent pool in which you can fish, build your business case. To help you do this we have created a step-by-step practical guide to build the bespoke business case for flexible working for your company and to bring that blood pressure down.
Finance Director Emilie Crick found her last two roles on 2to3days. She explains that being proactive and keeping an eye on the market means mothers can work flexibly and progress their careers. In 2014, when she wanted to return from maternity leave to her job within corporate credit at one of the big banks in the city, Emilie Crick ran into problems familiar to many mothers. Restructuring had taken place during her absence which meant that the role she was returning to was not the same. The new role covered a different sector in which she had limited experience as well as having a considerably smaller team to manage. “I was going from being a director heading up a team to not really having any managerial responsibilities,” she says. There was more. While the bank said they could be flexible and offer part-time working, there were stipulations. She would have to do all her three and a half days in the office – commuting even on the half day – and she’d be expected to be available for meetings/ ad-hoc work that arose on her non-working days which had to be a Thursday or Friday. Faced with a situation that was de-motivating and difficult to juggle without significant child-care costs, Emilie opted not to return. Her son had been premature – born at 30 weeks, she felt he still needed her – and her husband often travelled for work. Such inflexible flexibility wasn’t going to cut it. At the time she wasn’t too worried. “I was happy to stay home and focus on my son. But by the time he was 15 months he didn’t need me as much. He wanted to explore and I was just the servant!” She missed work and wondered if this was the right time to fulfil her ambition to move into the small business sector, away from investment-grade corporate banking. “I started looking for part-time roles but there wasn’t much out there,” she says. “I didn’t know where to start and recruitment consultants just focused on what I had been doing. They couldn’t see how my skills were transferable.” When she became pregnant with her second son, Emilie gave up looking for a role. “I’d interviewed for something but I was stabbing in the dark and then I found out I was pregnant. I didn’t want to say to a new employer that I would need to go on maternity leave so soon.” She abandoned the search until her second son was 13 months old. This time, things were very different. “There was so much more out there – I couldn’t believe the difference in two years. A friend told me about 2to3days. I redid my CV and uploaded my details to the site.” Another friend then forwarded her a 2to3days role in Clapham, near her home. It was an office manager position, 15 hours a week. She applied and did some freelance work for the firm, and only a week later a finance role at local salad dressing business Lucy’s Dressings came up on 2to3days. “I’m a big foodie and it was a 10-minute cycle from my house,” she says. “I could make the move from corporate banking to management accounting and learn on the job in a flexible environment.” The role was the challenge I was looking for. “When I joined I was thrown into the deep end and was involved in the forecasting and crowdfunding process” In a small firm she found she could also gain experience in PR, marketing, operations, HR and commercial strategy. Emilie had no plans to leave Lucy’s Dressings, but two years later a Finance Director position with Brixton-based Volcano Coffee Works appeared on a 2to3days email. It seemed the perfect next step. “I was keen to broaden my experience and make the jump to Finance Director,” she says. She found the 2to3days network invaluable in getting to know businesses in her area that were open to flexible working. “It’s a step up,” she says of the new position. “I should be able to gain a huge amount of experience as well as use my accountancy qualification and previous banking experience to its full potential”. “I’ve recommended 2to3days to so many people. You do have to be proactive and make it happen. If I had unsubscribed from the email I would have missed the opportunity. It’s such a helpful summary of the jobs in your area at all levels. There’s something for everyone.” Register now to find your perfect role!
With the gender pay gap at the forefront of business priorities, understanding how to attract more women to apply for roles is key. Recent research by Glassdoor, the worldwide job and recruiting site, states that employers need to consider how audiences may differ in how they research jobs and what is important to them. If companies wish to attract more women, these key factors should be considered as the research showed that women rated them more highly than men: Work-from-home option 49% Transparency on pay & benefits 48% Potential to grow within the company 44% The online survey, conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of Glassdoor in May 2018, found these factors were more important than a great company culture (35%), whether the company’s financial performance is good (26%), or familiarity with the brand (23%). “Job seekers crave transparency on pay, not only to make an initial judgement about whether to consider applying for a job, but also to assess if an employer holds long term potential for them,” said Julie Coucoules, Glassdoor’s Global Head of Talent Acquisition. “Quality candidates are typically well-researched and those that go beyond job ads and look for a richer set of background data that includes benefits and employee reviews, among other specific traits about an employer. This means that employers should make information available to job candidates proactively, or they risk missing out on quality candidates applying.” Companies providing as much detail as possible about the role, and the benefits on offer – including salary and whether homeworking is an option – will attract the best candidates and tackle their female talent pipeline. Place an advert with us today and attract great women to join your team and redress your gender pay gap. View more details on this study here.
Nationwide's six Contact Centres throughout the UK are all slightly different in their culture, atmosphere and the type of work they do. But they have much in common too. We’re dedicated to creating contact centre environments where every employee feels part of the unique society that Nationwide is building. Where they feel valued, recognised and rewarded in equal measures. How do we achieve this? By being as supportive, helpful and considerate towards our employees as we are towards our members. Our Social purpose isn’t just a tag line As a building society and not a bank, we’ve always done things differently. We’re owned by and run for the benefit of our members, not shareholders, and have a duty to act in their best interests. We also passionately belief in flexible working being a prerequisite, not a special request. Although Nationwide is now a very large business, our primary purpose is still a social – not commercial - one. Just as was our purpose over 170 years, to help to co-operate and collaborate to improve the lives of ‘the industrious classes’, this still binds our interests with those of society more generally today. This purpose is epitomised by our people within our contact centres. Such as Yasmine, who works in our Northampton centre: “ Not only do we look after each other, but we look after our members so much as well; we always put them at the heart of everything we do.” Contact centres which are anything but stereotypes This belief in supporting our talented people is so important at Nationwide. We know that working in a contact centre can sometimes be challenging. You have to be resilient and you have to be customer-focused. But we’ll always make sure that you’ve got the support of the team, encouraging managers and plenty of opportunities to breakout and recharge your batteries. It’s all about finding the right balance. This support is provided by people like Mike, one of our trainers: “Agents get time off the phone for coaching and development. If there's anything we can do in that coaching session that's going to help that agent, let’s say, improve on a particular targeted area, then we also give them the necessary tools, the necessary guidance as well to help them improve in that particular area.” A future of opportunities We’re building our ‘society’ with a sense of community and the collective belief that we’re here to help and can make a difference. You’ll have the support to achieve your career goals, work in an environment where you can have a voice, and have access to lifestyle rewards that really are worthwhile. Help us build on our values and we’ll help you build an amazing career. We have flexible and part-time opportunities in [Bournemouth, Dunfermline, Northampton, Sheffield, Swindon and Wakefield]. View our current 2to3days job post, and to explore our contact centres and the opportunities further, click here.
The world of work is changing. Driven by technology, connectivity, new social models and more, work-life integration is the holy grail and the restrictions of the traditional 9-5 are no longer acceptable for many. Download our comprehensive guide to the key business drivers for flexible working to create a bespoke business case for your business.
It has been suggested that two key occurrences in the last year will have a big impact on workplace gender equality. James Davies, a managing partner on employment matters at Lewis Silkin LLP, London believes that the launch of the #MeToo movement in combination with the obligation on UK employers of more than 250 people to report gender pay gaps will catalyse real change. Gender Pay Gap With respect to the gender pay gap reporting, Davies states “This has forced employers to look at how best they can meaningfully respond to the pay gaps that most of them face” “The reasons for the gap are likely to be complex and many. Some will be societal and require political fixes. In the UK, the introduction of shared parental leave has done little to change the reality that primary childcare responsibilities still fall disproportionately on women.” The fact remains that although there has been legislation on a range of issues, change has not happened at any pace with Cranfield University reporting that only 10% of Executive Directors are women. There are steps that can be taken to address this, including training managers to identify unconscious bias; supporting flexible working arrangements; identifying and supporting senior female role models; working within sectors to increase the talent pool of women in under-represented roles; and ensuring pay and promotion decisions are transparent, consistent and reasoned. Reputational Issues Gender pay equality has been propelled to top-priority status in British boardrooms to an extent that is rare for employment law reforms, Davies states. Whilst equal pay and discrimination claims are possible, these are relatively few not least because of the personal and financial costs to the claimant. The issue driving change, as Davies sees it, is the reputational damage from being seen not to take gender workplace issues seriously. It can be more immediate, less controllable and far costlier than a legal claim. Social Media The ability for individuals to communicate globally through social media is a further change profoundly affecting employer attitudes. The case of Nicola Thorp in 2016 is one Davies uses. She was sent home from her receptionist job for not wearing sufficiently high heels attracting a high level of public attention after she posted this on Facebook. It eventually led to the UK Women and Equalities Commission publishing a report on high heels and workplace dress codes. Social media also comes into play when considering the #MeToo movement which likely could not have been so widespread without access to the public via social media channels. Responding to #MeToo Employers must confront the reality that traditional grievance processes have failed to give many women a voice to report workplace harassment says Davies. “Clearly, a very significant number of women of varying ages, and across all sectors, have been the victim of such unreported behaviour at work. “ “For employers, the challenge is to do all they can to provide a working environment in which the risks of harassment and discrimination are reduced as far as possible… Employers should act proactively to develop new pathways for employees to raise concerns internally, rather than on social media platforms” Summary In summary, Davies says “This year marks the 100th anniversary of women first being given the right to vote in the UK. The past few months have forced many to accept that, despite evident progress, we are not as far along the road to equality at work as we might have thought. Although the law has been (and will continue to be) an effective driver of sustained social change, the recent media scrutiny of workplace gender equality has held up a mirror to many employers’ complacency. That might be enough to make 2018 a tipping point. “ Read the full article Workplace Gender Equality- Will 2018 be a Tipping Point?in Who’s Who Legal.