Women Returners in Financial Services – The £1 Billion Talent Potential
Despite the gains the UK has made in improving female labour market outcomes, there’s still significant underutilised potential: one such group is professional women returning from career breaks. New research from PwC reveals that around 427,000 female professionals, who are currently on a career break, want to return to the workforce in the future – and addressing the career break penalty could deliver gains of £1.7 billion to the UK economy.
Career breaks can be taken for a number of reasons, to look after a young family, provide elderly care, for health reasons, travel, volunteering, study or just time out, but women often face challenges when returning to the workplace.
But enlightened businesses are starting to take action. Pioneered by investment banks, ‘Returnships’ are paid internships for returning professionals, normally lasting between three and six months and focus on offering women (and men) the chance to keep their skills up to date, boost confidence and, the possibility of being hired permanently. There are about 30 financial services firms in the UK that currently have formal returner programmes, and although they are a relatively new concept they are starting to gain traction in European financial services. However, they typically require a lot of resources and are often therefore not viable for smaller firms.
What we are starting to see more broadly is that financial services firms are now proactively seeking women returners as part of their wider diversity strategy. From an employer perspective, hiring returning professionals back into the workplace has significant benefits. As a whole the sector has often struggled to attract and retain senior female talent, but HR and hiring managers are now increasingly open to more creative ways to resource key skill-sets and improve diversity. This includes championing flexible working, promoting or recruiting more women into senior leadership roles and improving support for maternity returners, all through to a largely untapped pool of high-calibre experienced and motivated women.
Now has never been a better time to think about returning to work after an extended break.
BRUIN is actively working on behalf of a number of financial services organisations that are seeking experienced returners. To submit your CV to be considered for Returner positions please email us and for more information please contact one of our Leadership Team.
The UK has made progress in improvements to the female labour market, but there is still enormous potential that is underutilised, and no more so than women returning from career breaks.