A lot can change in a year or more. So, when a career break lasts longer than a few months, the process of returning can be tricky to navigate for all concerned. That’s where returnship programmes can be so powerful.

What are returnships?

The first returnship was offered by Goldman Sachs in 2008 as part of a broader initiative to encourage more women to re-enter the workforce after an extended break- with a specific focus on mothers returning to work after a maternity leave period. It has since grown to more broadly encompass all manner of professionals wishing to return to the workforce after an extended break. 

Initially, the aim was to bring about a "way to bring high potential employees whose skill may need a little updating, back into the company fold. " Since then, the Goldman Sachs programme and ones similar to it have been created to actively find and re-train professionals who can fill important gaps in the labour market, as well as take advantage of a huge talent pool of skilled professionals.

Returnships are experiencing a global rise in popularity, especially amongst businesses with 50+ employees, and this is likely due to issues of fair work and diversity coming to the forefront of progressive conversations, as well as being championed by many advocacy groups around the world.

Returnships help women re-enter the workforce 


Returnships  are a great way to encourage diversity and inclusion in the workplace, levelling the playing field for women returners in all manner of industries. And, aside from providing a structured support and out of a non-work period, they also allow returning women to upskill and refresh their existing knowledge, ensuring that they are up to date with best practices and new methods of thinking and analysis (particularly important for those looking to return to constantly changing landscapes like the tech sector). 

This can give returners a great confidence boost and strengthen their ability to re-enter the workforce. These programmes also allow returners to re-enter the workplace in a supported, part-time or flexible role before taking on a full-time position later. 

Studies suggest that action is critical to addressing the career break penalty for women. Business owners, recruiters and hiring managers should consider re-evaluating some of the following hiring practices: 

  • Recruiters and employers should reassess their interview and recruitment processes company-wide to try and weed out any potential for recruitment bias 
  • Recognise that returnship programmes create an effective, clear path back to mid and senior-level positions for those who are looking to re-enter the workforce
  • Increasing the availability of part-time and flexible opportunities in professional roles helps widen the pool of talent businesses can access. 

How can returnships benefit your business? 


The benefits of returnships from a business perspective are numerous, especially when hiring at more senior levels. Although an individual may have been out of work for a number of years, the experience and skills they gained before their career-break can often be hugely valuable. For example, someone who worked as an accountant, sales professional or marketer five years ago is unlikely to have forgotten the key elements of operating successfully in these types of roles; they may just need to learn how to use a new software package or brush up on a new approach. 

Well-executed returnships can be a win-win for both businesses and their incoming staff. It all comes back to what drives great recruitment in the first place: finding the best talent for the right roles.

Employers stand to gain the following: 

  • Access to a diverse and very talented pool of applicants 
  • An opportunity to cost-effectively and efficiently assess a candidate's suitability for long-term employment.
  • Tap into an experienced talent pool that traditional recruitment practices eclipse

Are you a returning mother? 

Many high-performing, focused and dedicated individuals do not follow the typical career path. For example, women who wish to spend time care-taking and nurturing their young children prior to entering their school years often have difficulty re-entering the workforce. 

Common reasons for undertaking a returnship: 

  • Those leaving the workforce for temporary health issues 
  • Former entrepreneurs who left careers to build their own business 
  • Workers who have taken a break from the workforce to support a family (i.e. maternity or paternity leave)
  • To go travelling or pursue a sporting interest

Although each business offers their own version, the training requirements are more or less the same across the board. But here’s a condensed list of what you can reasonably expect should you be successful in applying for one of the returnships advertised on 2to3 Days: 

  • Accelerated internship for those with existing experience and on-the-job training opportunities to get up to speed with the latest best practice methods 
  • Typically run for a period of 3 to 6 months 
  • Contracts are fixed and salary is commensurate to/with experience 
  • A high rate of success (determined by full-time/flexible position offer at end of the returnship) 
  • Provide a high level of educational support and mentorship 

Advertise your positions with 2to3days 

2to3days is the ultimate platform for you to advertise your returnship programme. We give you direct access to highly capable women who want to get back into the workplace after a career break. Advertise your roles now. 

Our Returnship packages

Our returnship package will include:

  • Your logo on our homepage 
  • Your own dedicated page that enables you to explain what your returnship programme entails together with brand imagery 
  • Your own advert promoting your returnship programme 
  • An email and social media campaign to boost your message to our engaged community 
  • The returnship package costs £1,650 +VAT. 

For an additional £750+vat, we highly recommend that you also provide an advertorial that we will use to boost your employer brand engagement campaign. We have a very experienced in-house team to take care of this for you.