We developed Women Returners because of the difficulties we and our peers encountered when returning to work after a multi-year career break. Our broad social purpose is to provide a voice and be an advocate and a source of support for professional women returning to the paid workforce after an extended (2-15+ year) hiatus.
We value the work of at-home parents and carers and do not feel that the choice to pause a working life at any stage should be detrimental to a career spanning 40-50 years. We are frustrated by the waste of training, talent, skill and experience that is represented by the large pool of high-calibre women who are overlooked by employers and so feel unable to contribute economically. In the corporate sphere, our overriding aim is to increase the career path choices available for women and men. We want to enable people to take a break from their careers, for whatever reason, and to feel confident that there is a clear route back into a satisfying role in the workforce.
We see the development of ‘returnships’ as a primary vehicle for achieving this change, as they provide a bridge back to high-calibre work for skilled professionals. Our vision is that returner programmes will become standard practice within UK organisations.
We are working towards our aims in 3 main ways, combining non-profit and commercial activities:
- Offering a range of free advice, support and inspiration to individual returners through our network website and blog, and through conference workshops and events; together with the option of paid coaching services.
- Being the voice for professional women returning after a long career break within Government, industry and media debate, bringing to the forefront the practical and psychological barriers to getting back into rewarding work.
- Acting as advocates for returnship programmes with Government, industry bodies, employers and the media, to build broad education and awareness.
Returner Programme Development
- Providing specialist consultancy and coaching services to organisations to enable them to design and run best practice returner programmes, consistent with both diversity and talent recruitment objectives.