Why this opportunity might be right up your street! This year saw ten women - nine of them mothers - return to work with four city law firms through our inaugural Reignite Academy programme. We were so inspired by the quality of the women we placed that we decided to repeat the exercise and set about finding more law firms who were willing to join us to help more people reignite their careers. A further eight firms soon joined and now we’re looking for candidates interested in joining the next programme. What does a typical candidate look like? The short answer: there is no such thing. Those returning - and in our initial cohort they are all women - range in experience from one year PQE to over 20; they cover disciplines including corporate, banking and finance, regulatory, tax, commercial, employment and real estate. Manjit began her career as a TV presenter before training as a lawyer with a city firm. She worked as in house counsel for a music company and for a large telco, covering IP, commercial, consumer regulations, branding and advertising, amassing four years’ PQE prior to taking what would become a 10 year break from the law. Two of the more experienced candidates each have eight and twenty-plus years’ PQE. One is a banking and finance lawyer, who left a city career to go in house before going freelance. The other is a commercial lawyer with experience working for city firms and as in house counsel. At the other end of the spectrum, Elizabeth had two years’ post qualification experience, working as a corporate lawyer for a magic circle firm, including a stint in Brussels. She had a 17 year break away from the city and is now in the corporate department at Orrick. Whilst they are a very diverse group, they do have something in common: grit, determination and ambition; they are raring to go. We asked the group for any advice they’d pass on to anyone considering the programme. Here are some of their tips: Your earlier experience and training hasn’t disappeared. Yes, some things have changed in the law but much hasn’t. And as a lawyer, you’re used to checking things and looking things up. Don’t worry about hitting the ground running on day 1. The whole point of the programme is to provide you with time to get back up to speed. Have an eye to the future. Think about where you’d like to be in five years, ten years not just six months from now. As they say on the reality TV shows, it’s a journey. Yes, you’ll be working with colleagues and people in more senior positions who are often much younger than you. It’s no big deal and they sometimes find it stranger than you - let them know it’s OK to delegate things to you. Value what you are bringing to the party: your networks, your maturity, your experience, your wisdom. Having a coach is a privilege. Use them wisely. You’re not on your own. Although the ten women in the pilot work across four different firms, they do stay together as a cohort and regularly communicate and encourage each other. Dictaphones are out. Document management systems are in: don’t worry, they’re not difficult to learn, it’s just different. I’ll leave the last words to Manjit, who joined CMS in January: “This is an incredible opportunity to get my city career back on track: everyone involved has been able to see beyond what looks like a strangely shaped CV and unusual career path. And yet for me, taking a break enabled me to come back stronger. I’m grateful for the chance and can’t wait to get started.” Have a look at current returnship opportunities here.
Returnships are a powerful way for forward-thinking companies to attract top talent who have been on a career break for some time and need that little bit of support to reenter the job market. The power of 2to3days is rooted in the Hood - our community of 28,000 mothers who are always on hand to give us insights into what forward-thinking companies should be offering to attract top talent. This year, in partnership with the returnship experts at Inclusivity, we’ve conducted a survey to find out what our mothers think about returnships. These programmes, which are designed to support people who have been on a career break get back into the job market, have only been around since 2014 and last year the total number available stood at just 50. Despite returnships still being in their early stages and relatively unknown in the wider business community, over 300 of our mothers shared their views between the beginning of December 2018 and the end of January 2019 and the baseline conclusion is that returnships are definitely in demand - assuming they can meet certain key criteria. Who answered the survey 31% of respondents have 16+ years’ experience. We know that our mothers reflect a high calibre of professional woman and the survey results confirmed this. Almost three quarters (73%) of respondents had reached a level of middle management and above before going on a career break, with almost a third (31%) having 16+ years of experience. These respondents represent a huge range of industries - including HR and recruitment, PR and marketing, financial services, legal, retail and education - and are based across the UK. Almost 3 out of 4 (74%) are currently on a career break, with the length of that break being quite varied: 34% have been on a break for 0-2 years, 30% for 3-5 years, 27% for 6-10 and 10% for 11+ years. Why they left and what they want now Reasons for a career break include redundancy, childcare costs and not being given the flexibility they need. There are lots of different reasons why our mothers leave their careers or take a career break. The survey brought up a wide variety but by far the most common was needing more flexibility because of motherhood and not getting this from their employer, so being forced to leave - 36% cited this reason. Others included: Being made redundant (14%) Changes in their partner’s role that made it no longer feasible for both of them to work 13% The cost of childcare 11% Becoming unwell and not being able to work any longer 4% More than half (52%) of the 2to3days mothers who responded to the survey are simply looking for a job that enables them to pursue their career when they are ready. However 43% are either seeking a middle management position or actively want to lead a team and progress as far as they possibly can. How our mothers feel about Returnships Almost half of our mothers think returnships are a good thing but 20% think they’re too selective in terms of functional area. This survey was specifically aimed at finding out more about what mothers think about returnships and whether there’s a need for more of them. The overall results were mixed. On the one hand, almost half (48%) felt that in general returnships are a good thing for companies to do. However, 20% believe they are too selective in terms of the functional area they’re geared for. That said, an enormous 78% of respondents were interested in going on a returnship programme, with only 6% not wanting to take part and the rest being unsure. But interestingly almost a third (32%) were concerned that these programmes are a way for companies to be ‘seen’ to be promoting women’s careers in order to tick a CSR box. Those who were interested in a returnship programme were motivated by a range of factors. But the primary one (46%) was the opportunity to get great experience with the prospect of being able to continue their career with a company they want to work for. A further 27% had tried applying for roles without success so were hoping that a returnship programme would enable them to restart their career. Other motivators included getting experience that looks good on a CV without having to commit to a job, gaining the confidence needed to re-enter the workplace, and changing careers at a time when they can’t commit to a fulltime job. What our mothers want from returnships 87% of respondents rate job training as an important part of a returnship programme. With the opinion on returnships one of positivity for the most part, we wanted to know more about what mothers in the 2to3days hood wanted from these programmes. The front runner was job training with 87% saying this was important to them. Next came mentorship with 69%, then networking opportunities (59%), long term career advice (54%), one-to-one coaching (53%), workshops (42%), a buddy system with fellow returners (42%) and regular get togethers with fellow returners (38%). A key requirement for returnships, according to the mothers who responded to our survey, is a degree of flexibility. 63% would only consider four days a week or less, 29% would be happy to work full time but only with genuine flexibility, and just 9% would consider working a standard full time week. Returnships are particularly appealing if they offer benefits in addition to a fair rate of remuneration. Most important is holiday entitlement, which 84% would like to see. This was followed by pension contributions (67%), private healthcare (43%) and emergency childcare (37%) How to encourage more mothers into returnships If so many mothers are keen to take part in a returnship programme, why aren’t more doing so? The reality is that there are still many barriers in place that make it difficult or even impossible for them to do so. A lack of flexibility is the biggest issue with 54% of our respondents saying that the time requirements are too high. Interestingly the second biggest issue was actually finding a returnship to go on, suggesting that there is huge potential for companies to tap into this way of recruiting top talent. Other barriers to going on a returnship programme included: Childcare (37%) Excessive commute (28%) Lack of confidence (21%) Uncertainty about getting a job at the end (21%) Our mothers were willing to consider an alternative to a returnship programme though, in the form of supportive hire. This is where a returner is hired to a permanent position and given coaching support as part of the transition back into work. 88% of respondents said they’d be interested in this option with only 4% saying no and the rest being unsure. In conclusion, it is clear that returnships are attractive in principle. But it’s important that returnships do not become a box ticking exercise and that they are developed with the very people they are trying to attract in mind, especially by offering flexible options that take into account childcare demands. Where these criteria are met, returnship programmes have huge potential for helping forward-thinking employers tap a previously hidden talent pool. In this way they can improve the quality of their teams, help address diversity issues and the gender pay gap, and so much more. To find out how we can help you develop and fill your returnship programme with top calibre professional mothers, get in touch today.
Juliet Turnbull, Founder & CEO of 2to3days, reflects on this year’s International Women’s Day theme, #BalanceforBetter and explains why we’ve got your back. Gender balance at work is a 2019 commercial imperative if companies want to perform at their best. The answer, in my humble opinion, to attracting and retaining women of all ages is to enable mothers to work flexibly. By doing so you will plug your female talent pipeline and attract senior talent, where the gap is glaring. Female role models working flexibly will also inspire younger women that they can progress their career with your company, knowing that it doesn't have to stop when they become a mother. 2to3days’ sole purpose is to close the void between the business world and motherhood by championing mothers’ careers on a flexible basis. Our mission is therefore to unearth all of the companies, large and small who get and support gender balance in the workplace and connect them to our rapidly growing community of highly capable mothers. It’s absolutely right that International Women’s Day is highlighting the central role business can play when it comes to driving gender balance. And it’s not a question of compromise - the business benefits are clear. So when it comes to powering your company's performance, we've got your back with our highly capable mothers. Access the power of the hood today.
How do companies get on hiring from our amazing pool of talented mothers? Find out more from companies themselves. Aiesec Volcano Coffee Works Hamilton & Hare TalentPool Access the power of the hood today and power your company's performance.
Two years after returning to work on the first ever EY Reconnect programme, Louise is now supporting others through their own career transitions. Here’s her take on why the programme works so well. You’re welcome, whatever your story “Like a lot of people, I came into EY Reconnect assuming it was aimed at mums, like me. But I was wrong! Men and women take career breaks for all sorts of reasons – from caring for elderly parents to doing further study – and it’s been great to see a variety of people flourish through the programme.” You get lots of support “Coming back to work after nine years away, I knew my skills were still there and that I had even picked new ones up during this time. But I had doubts. How would I turn these into something that’s useful at work? Would it be OK if I had to go home to care for my child? “Fortunately, I was surrounded by people who understood what I was going through and wouldn’t hesitate to help. During one demanding project, I had some serious family issues to deal with. When I eventually asked my colleagues for help, I was amazed at how supportive they were. As a result, I now encourage others to be open and ask for help. Share what you’re going through – because you’re not alone.” Your experiences are valued “It’s common to think that time out from work means switching off completely. But since being back, I’ve seen that life skills gained during this time can be used at work to great effect. For me, serving as school governor and organising my sister’s wedding were fantastic lessons in motivating people and managing projects. “I was also pleased to find that my career-break experiences have strengthened relationships with my clients. Empathy is a useful skill in this business, and having similar life experiences really helps with that, not to mention creating topics for small talk. For the team, having diverse perspectives from people at different stages of life enriches the whole EY experience.” You’re given relevant coaching “Coaching is a very helpful part of the Reconnect programme. It can be daunting, walking onto a client site after time away, able to confidently position yourself and your value to them. This is just the kind of thing we’d cover in group sessions, where we’d work on our personal elevator pitch, evaluate our skills, or learn how to build our networks on LinkedIn. “Then there’s the one-on-one coaching, which you can tailor to . I used it to help me reflect on what I’d achieved during the programme and make a case for why I should stay on as a permanent team member. I found this hugely helpful.” You’ve got nothing to lose “Programmes like EY Reconnect are a very low-risk way to explore returning to work. They’re here to help you decide what’s right for you. “I told myself that if the 12 weeks didn’t work out, there’s no harm done. At least I gave it a go. I wasn’t signing up to some long-term commitment. Fortunately for me, it worked out well and I was really happy to secure a permanent position at the end of the programme You see different ways to make it work “Once you do get into the programme, it’s so much easier to see what your options are. For me, the revelation was that flexible working doesn’t just mean taking one day off each week. From home-working, to half-days, to job-sharing; I saw people working flexibly in all sorts of different ways. EY has a very trusting, autonomous culture, which is one of the reasons it works so well.” You meet inspiring role models (and become one yourself) “The EY Reconnect programme doesn’t just expose you to great role models, it creates them. When I came in, I learned so much from people who had been in my position and were now thriving in their careers. I’m now privileged to be a career counsellor myself and I hope that my experiences can have a positive effect on others. “As a society, programmes like EY Reconnect are helping to shift our view of what life can look like. Career paths can stop and start, twist and turn, and that’s OK. Whatever your journey, there’s flexibility to fit in and make your mark.” To find out more about opportunities with EY Reconnect, click here.
Flexibility and the opportunity to work at the cutting-edge of technological innovation are up for grabs as the Home Office launches a 6-month programme for skilled organisers and communicators returning to work after a career break. With responsibility for homeland security; public safety and borders; and immigration and citizenship, the Home Office is charged with keeping the country safe. The work can be fast-paced and challenging, with the reward of knowing you’re making a difference. The Home Office Digital Data and Technology (DDaT) branch is looking for ten Delivery Managers to undertake a 6-month supported return-to-work programme. The programme follows similar initiatives in other parts of the Home Office and wider government, part of a strategy to make Civil Service jobs accessible to a wide range of talented individuals. This is a great opportunity to utilise transferable skills. “Experience or knowledge of the delivery of technology-based projects would be helpful but most importantly it’s about having great communication skills, good planning, organisation and budgeting,” says Sonia Douspis, the Resourcing Business partner for DDaT. “The people we bring on board will be based in different parts of the digital unit, across the portfolios.” These include biometrics, immigration, borders technology and police and public protection. This is an exciting opportunity to work in unique areas, contributing towards keeping this country safe. “We will provide returners with unique experiences and opportunities, building their skills so they can thrive.” Delivery Managers support teams by keeping them motivated, and ensure they have the tools and people they need to see projects through. Returners could find themselves working with the teams designing and building solutions to help people prove their identity or apply for visas; or those working on IT systems that support policing and counter terrorism. They will be ensuring that such projects, which use cutting-edge technology, run smoothly. The return-to-work programme positions are available on a flexible basis – whether that’s part-time, compressed hours, a job share or including an element of home working. “We are very aware that we are targeting returners and they may need some degree of flexibility,” says Sonia. Most roles will be based in Croydon or London, although there are options for other locations. She adds that returners will be coming into a supportive and flexible environment, something she knows first-hand. “I joined the Home Office when my son was one and was very conscious of finding an employer who would be flexible enough for me to have a reasonable work/life balance,” she says. “Little did I know the Home Office would go above and beyond my expectation in terms of flexible working. I am currently working condensed hours from 7.30am to 4pm Monday to Thursday and Friday morning. This pattern not only allows me to pick my son up from nursery but also to have my Friday afternoons off to spend some quality time with him (and save on the high nursery fees) and to squeeze in a gym session or two during the week.” At the end of the 6-month programme the Home Office will run an open competition process for roles that would suit the returners. The aim of the pilot is to ensure they are prepared and motivated to join Home Office DDaT permanently. “We will appoint on merit but are confident that the returners will be armed with all the tools they need to be appointed to the permanent roles following the return-to-work programme,” says Sonia. Hannah Davies, Talent and Development Officer in DDaT’s Enterprise Services, says she can’t imagine leaving the Civil Service, simply because of how supported she feels.“I have had two periods of maternity leave since 2009. When I returned to work, I was able to work 23 hours over four days and I continued this until 2018. This allowed my partner and me to work flexibly and to equally spend time with the family, which meant minimal childcare costs.” Hannah has also been able to advance her career. “In March 2018 I was successful in a promotion and my new team have been equally supportive. Now that my girls are in full-time school, I have been able to increase my hours to 30 hours over five days which allows me to pick them up on all five days.” The return-to-work programme is now open for applications, with interviews in April/May. Successful candidates are likely to start in September. “It’s about finding the right people, supporting them coming back to work after time away and preparing them for permanent roles,” says Sonia. Apply now for a place on the programme.
Becoming a Solicitor with Cognitive Law changed Karen Blakesley's life for the better. Here she shares her reflections on two years as a Consultant Solicitor with this thoroughly modern law firm that is built on 100% flexibility. Today is my 2nd anniversary as a Consultant Solicitor! And I couldn’t be happier. Working in this way has allowed me to finally crack the work/life balance conundrum. Working for a firm in Kent for 14 years, I quickly progressed to partnership. I thrived in a busy commercial litigation department but when I started a family, things became difficult. The commute, the demands of the job, the changes in the legal sector, all meant that work took up so much of my time there was very little left for my family. There are challenges to working in this way as it differs so much from the partnership model. However you quickly become accustomed to having complete control over everything you do – and when you do it. And knowing that the more you work, the more you will earn is satisfyingly refreshing. I simply can’t ever see myself going back to the traditional legal firm model. Cognitive are friendly and supportive, with excellent back office support. Whilst you don’t have a secretary, they will help with pretty much any request, deal with all billing and credit control and proactively help with marketing the firm and you personally. As a mother of two, it has given me the freedom to be a solicitor and still have the time and energy to be a good parent and spend quality time with my children. In my first year, my youngest was not yet at school, so I broke myself into this new way of working gently. By the end of my second year, I have more than doubled my fee income and am now looking for more new and exciting ways to develop my practice. I set my own hours – and can actually turn down work if I don’t have time for it. This was unheard of in my old practice! I have even found time to take up running and ensure that my self-development is as important as my work and family life. All of this adds up to a very contented solicitor. That’s not something you hear all that often! ------- Reading Karen's piece, the positives are joining Cognitive Law will no doubt be very apparent – complete flexibility, being able to choose where you work, how many hours you would like to work, and the freedom to work with whom you like. Increased family time, or the freedom to pursue leisure interests, becomes achievable within the working day. However, Cognitive Law know the conversations inevitably raise questions about the perceived drawbacks of becoming a consultant solicitor. In these FAQs they have tried to address some of these frequently asked questions honestly. Where will my clients come from? Clients are notoriously loyal to their solicitor. If you are a good solicitor with a strong following, clients will often move with you. I would hasten to add however, that you must adhere to any restrictive covenants in your previous contract of employment. Nevertheless relying on an existing client base may not be enough. Tuning into your entrepreneurial flair will be required to build on your networks and relationships; as will marketing (more on that later). But if you are ready to pursue a career as a consultant, your ambition and drive will instinctively be geared towards getting out there and networking. How will I make money? Join on our industry leading fee sharing model and earn up to 70% on all received fees. What sort of support will I get? We arrange professional indemnity insurance, handle compliance management and can facilitate any training requirements. Our back office support will provide you with everything you need to get going. Full training is provided to get to grips with our very easy to use case management system. We look after your invoicing and credit control, and we pay our consultants weekly on a fees received basis. We have regular 1 to 1’s with all consultants, and quarterly consultants meetings. There is always someone at the end of the phone to talk to, discuss any concerns with, and share ideas of best practice. We encourage our consultants to support each other with cross referrals, which not only earns them a referral fee, it allows them to offer a broader range of services outside their area of expertise. What about marketing? Our marketing team is set up to help our consultant solicitors hit the ground running. We offer full marketing and business development support from the outset, and throughout your consultancy career with Cognitive Law. Our marketing support includes but is not limited to the following: Business cards and other marketing literature Website profiles, dedicated area of services you offer and testimonials Social media training, including LinkedIn profiles and building networks Article writing and blog support Campaign creation and implementation for your area of law Networking and event schedules and suggestions Promotion of your specialism through our social media networks Client satisfaction questionnaires Award entry support What do I need to start? “Fail to plan….” – you know the rest! Along with your entrepreneurial flair, a business plan will be essential. A detailed plan (that you stick to!) and the dedication to build your network is the key to success. The luxury of being a consultant is that you get to do it all your way. You can pursue the clients you’d actually like to work with, in a way you are comfortable with, and in your own time. And to top it off, you get a bigger slice of the reward to take home! If taking the plunge into consultancy is for you then take a look at the great opportunities currently available with Cognitive Law.
Changing perceptions, increasing diversity and appealing to women are top of the agenda for international sports-betting and gaming operator Paddy Power Betfair. You don’t need to be a sports-mad gambling enthusiast to work at international betting operator Paddy Power Betfair but this incorrect perception has hindered the company’s recruitment of women. That’s set to change, with the business launching campaigns to dispel myths about its culture and promote its openness to flexibility. The move includes the publication of a series of adverts and videos featuring members of the team and their passions – from a magician to white collar boxers and singers. The “I am Paddy Power Betfair” series has already featured online and in newspapers and magazines in London, Dublin, Malta, Romania and Portugal. “Our goal is to improve gender balance in the company and one of the barriers we face is attracting more women to apply for our open roles” says Talent Director Charlotte Steel. It is early days, but the campaign is already having an impact on the numbers of women applying. Currently, 30% of the company’s workforce is female. “Around 30% of our applications come from women and around 30% of our hires are women. The data suggests increasing the number of applications will improve our chances of hiring more women,” says Steel. “It’s not essential for candidates to have a background in the industry. Like many businesses, our strategy is to create growth, and to grow you need to differentiate, and to differentiate you need to innovate and to innovate you need diversity in all forms.” Paddy Power Betfair is a FTSE 100 company and employees receive the high-end benefits associated with that status – including share schemes and bonus opportunities. However, Steel says the business has the culture similar to a start-up: fast-paced and ever-changing, where those keen to innovate can thrive. “Our junior members of staff have day to day exposure to senior leaders because of the relatively flat structure and non-hierarchical culture of the organisation. If you work hard, are smart, have good ideas and can prove yourself there are opportunities for you,” she says. Flexibility is a key element of the push to recruit more women and the business launched its ‘Flex Appeal’ campaign last year to make sure staff are aware of the options available. This formalised already-high levels of informal flexibility that existed in the company. The business launched a menu of flexible working options, with home working and flexi-time available in all roles and other options such as part-time and job sharing available for some positions. “Our aspiration is for flexibility to be a feature of how we work, embedded in our culture as the norm,” says Steel. Flexibility is not seen as an accommodation only for mothers. “We believe everyone can benefit from a bit of flexibility in their life. You might want to start at 9.30am because you have a gym class before work, or leave the office at 5pm for football practice,” she says. “One colleague works three days and the rest of the week attends university to study counselling and psychotherapy. There is flexibility for everyone.” On top of this, the firm has reviewed policies to ensure they are family-friendly, challenged recruiters to provide balanced shortlists and partnered with organisations such as Girls in Tech and the Makers Academy to help train women and access pools of talent. “Becoming a new mum has meant my priorities in life have changed. But that doesn’t mean my career ambitions are any less,” says Head of Brand Planning Emer McCarthy. “I love what I do and having children has given me a new appreciation and a new drive for my job. Flexible working hours allow me to achieve a work-life balance, whilst keeping my career on track.” Paddy Power Betfair has a range of roles available across finance, HR, technology, marketing, commercial and products in both London and Dublin. Experience of the industry is not essential, with behaviour and values central to the recruitment process. Steel says a ‘can do’ attitude; an appetite for a challenge; a smart, inquisitive nature; and a collaborative approach are most important. “We’re looking for people who have ideas and are passionate about making things better but have a low ego and work well in a team,” she says. “Staff engagement in our business is high on a number of dimensions, and particularly high around peer to peer relationships – people like each other, it’s a friendly place and there are high levels of trust which is something we’re proud of.” Successful candidates into senior roles can expect development opportunities, with annual feedback accompanied by 1:1 coaching sessions with external coaches. The firm offers leadership and management training programmes and high-potential women are sponsored by senior leaders in a bid to accelerate their progress in the company. With roles currently available in London and Dublin, it’s time to take a gamble and apply.
On a career break and want to get back to work, but don’t know where to start? All too frequently we hear from mothers on a career break describing that their route back to work isn’t as plain sailing as they hoped it would be when you’ve got a gap on your CV. Perhaps you can relate to these common career-break concerns and the challenges of re-entering the workplace after leaving an established career: Feeling judged for taking time out to focus on family A loss of confidence or feeling ‘out of practice’ and unsure of yourself Convinced that there are younger, more ambitious women out there who are better poised to do the job Feeling out of touch and behind on the latest technology and market trends Potential employers will dismiss you when applying for roles because of long gaps on your CV Feeling it’s unlikely you’ll return to the same level of seniority or pay as before your break The good news is that gender diversity is still a top priority across the UK. Business leaders are recognising that not everyone has a traditional career path and are therefore seeking out return-to-work programmes as a compelling and effective way to recapture this ‘lost’ talent in the workforce. WHERE DID THE ‘RETURNSHIP’ START? A little over a decade ago, the first return to work programme was introduced by Goldman Sachs in the U.S. who trademarked the term “Returnship”. Today there are more than 160 diverse companies across the globe investing in return-to-work programmes. In 2018, the UK market saw just short of 50 programmes launched or repeated. WHAT EXACTLY IS A RETURN TO WORK PROGRAMME? Each company structures their programme slightly differently and they all have varying names such as KPMG’s Return to Tax & Pensions programme or The Reignite Academy for lawyers. You can expect the following: A higher-level internship for experienced individuals (men and women) who have taken voluntary, extended time out from their careers and are now interested in re-igniting their field of expertise or professional career back in the workplace The duration is variable but many run over a 3-6 month period Typically, they are fixed-term contracts, offering remuneration commensurate with experience They aim to provide support, training and mentorship, helping individuals reacquaint themselves with the culture and pace of the present work environment and improve skills that may have become a bit rusty They don’t guarantee long-term employment, rather offering the possibility of a permanent role at the end of the programme. Success rate is high (between 50 -100 % are offered permanent employment) after enrolling on a programme and many companies offer some level of flexibility, recognising the need to continue to fulfil your family commitments HOW DO YOU QUALIFY? Each company will set up specific criteria for applicants but there are a few generally accepted requirements that apply to most of the current UK returnship programmes: A career break of at least 2 years, although recently some do now allow you to apply if you are currently working but not making the best use of your skills and experience A specific level of experience, obviously with the understanding that you may be a bit rusty and oftentimes also a minimum educational or professional qualification IT’S A WIN-WIN SITUATION Returnships offer a practical solution to help companies stay competitive by attracting, retaining and supporting a group of highly-qualified, experienced and motivated professionals. Return on investment is extremely high – companies broaden female representation at multiple levels, reinforce their commitments to diversity and flexibility and ultimately it leads to improved overall business results. As a mother, you benefit from improving your skills and capabilities that may have been languishing at home for a few years. Your gaps in technology advancements or knowledge base will be brought up to speed in a supportive environment. Importantly, your confidence will be boosted with dedicated coaching, training sessions and mentoring – everything you need to re-acclimatise to the current working environment. WHERE TO NEXT? Momentum is building, but there are still plenty of opportunities for more businesses to get on board. Forward-thinking companies know that the calibre of mothers returning to work is high, their work ethic and loyalty unwavering. That’s why 2to3days has partnered with Inclusivity Partners to better understand how companies can set more of these programmes up to for success and attract the best candidates (yes, that’s you!). To help us achieve this, we’d love you to tell us what you think about return-to-work programmes by completing this short survey. Together, we’ll help to remove the fear of taking time out for family and give you the confidence that pausing on your working commitments is not an insurmountable obstacle. The more returnships we can support, the more you can feel encouraged to take that career break, knowing your skills and experience will be highly valued by potential employers when you are ready to return.