Belfast Telegraph - Business Telegraph - - News - Justin Rush is joint di­rec­tor of Aba­cus Pro­fes­sional Re­cruit­ment based in Belfast, Dublin and Lon­don

Com­pa­nies miss­ing out on ben­e­fits of se­nior staff re­turn­ing to work, says Justin Rush of Aba­cus Pro­fes­sional Re­cruit­ment

North­ern Ire­land com­pa­nies may be miss­ing out on the sig­nif­i­cant eco­nomic ben­e­fits in re­turn­ing for­mer se­nior pro­fes­sion­als into the work­place who have taken a ca­reer break.

The for­mal in­tro­duc­tion of ‘re­turn­ships’ is one of the lat­est re­cruit­ment trends adopted by lead­ing blue-chip com­pa­nies in the UK. The higher-level in­tern­ships act as a bridge back to se­nior roles for ex­pe­ri­enced pro­fes­sion­als who have taken an ex­tended time off work due to fam­ily com­mit­ments for ex­am­ple.

Re­turn­ships can be con­tracts of 3-12 months mainly aimed at women re­turn­ers who are for­mer le­gal, ac­coun­tancy, IT and fi­nan­cial ser­vices pro­fes­sion­als. It al­lows the in­di­vid­u­als to get back into work, re­fresh their skills and be­come bet­ter equipped to gain a fu­ture per­ma­nent role.

Em­ploy­ers open to such ini­tia­tives are able to ac­cess an un­tapped pool of ex­pe­ri­enced tal­ent that many are over­look­ing, and don’t for­get this is a group ea­ger to im­press. In prac­tice, the re­turner nor­mally takes lit­tle time to get back up to speed, many quote ‘it’s like fall­ing off a log’ and usu­ally only re­quire a ‘work buddy’ for ba­sic ad­min ques­tions.

Suc­cess­ful ini­tia­tives such as Pwc’s ‘Back to Busi­ness’ scheme and EY’S ‘Re­con­nect Pro­gramme’ demon­strate how both the com­pany and re­turn­ing in­di­vid­u­als ben­e­fit from the ded­i­cated re­cruit­ment pro­gramme.

The ben­e­fits of re­turn­ships can be huge, not just for the busi­ness, but for the econ­omy in gen­eral. It is es­ti­mated that re­turn­ing pro­fes­sion­als to work could lead to a £1.7bn in­crease in UK eco­nomic out­put, based their ex­tra earn­ings and in­creased spend­ing power (PWC 2016). As a pro­fes­sional re­cruit­ment com­pany which rep­re­sents over 70% of the top 100 com­pa­nies and all large scale for­eign di­rect in­vest­ments or­gan­i­sa­tions in North­ern Ire­land, Aba­cus knows that the ap­point­ment, and most im­por­tantly, the re­ten­tion, of mid­dle-level and se­nior skilled and ex­pe­ri­enced pro­fes­sion­als is al­ways in de­mand.

How­ever, in re­al­ity, of­ten HR man­agers may raise eye- brows at see­ing a lengthy gap in em­ploy­ment in a po­ten­tial ap­pointee.

In our ex­pe­ri­ence, this gap is not as rel­e­vant to the re­cruit­ment se­lec­tion process as many may think, par­tic­u­larly when it is con­sid­ered what vi­tal skills re­turn­ers may bring to busi­nesses.

These pro­fes­sion­als, who may have needed a ca­reer break to raise their fam­ily, care for a par­ent or due to health rea­sons, in­vari­ably take with them years of se­nior ex­pe­ri­ence. They have the skills and ex­pe­ri­ence that re­cruit­ment com­pa­nies like our­selves are tasked to pro­vide in can­di­dates ev­ery day, so they cer­tainly should not be over­looked.

The Women Re­turn­ers Net­work, sup­port­ing women in the work­place, es­ti­mated that cur­rently half a mil­lion of women pro­fes­sion­als cur­rently tak­ing a ca­reer break in the UK are likely to come back into the work­force. Of those who do, un­for­tu­nately three in five will move into a lower skilled or lower paid role than the job they had be­fore, re­duc­ing their earn­ings by up to a third. Re­turn­ships have the abil­ity to ad­dress this is­sue.

We know that not ev­ery busi­ness is large enough to in­tro­duce its own re­turn­ers ini­tia­tive, but the un­der­ly­ing prin­ci­ple is some­thing that to­day’s for­ward-think­ing busi­nesses should be con­sid­er­ing to find the right ap­point­ment for its busi­ness needs.

As re­cruiters of high cal­i­bre pro­fes­sion­als from the le­gal, ac­coun­tancy, IT and fi­nan­cial ser­vices sec­tors, it is our job at Aba­cus to at­tract the right level of tal­ent for our clients’ work­force as well as keep­ing clients up to date with new re­cruit­ment trends.

In to­day’s in­creas­ingly di­verse world of em­ploy­ment, build­ing a sta­ble work­force to drive busi­ness for­ward is a busi­ness im­per­a­tive. At Aba­cus, we have im­ple­mented this strat­egy with mem­bers of our own se­nior team join­ing the re­cruit­ment sec­tor fol­low­ing ca­reer breaks in var­i­ous pro­fes­sions — and we can per­son­ally ver­ify that it is a tremen­dous suc­cess.

Byjustin­rushof Aba­cus­pro­fes­sional Re­cruit­ment

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