Had a break? You can return in a senior role
A ReTuRnSHiP can help you get back to work after a career break.
Around 427,000 female professionals want to return to work in the future, but three in five are likely to move into lowerskilled or lower- paid roles, says professional services firm PwC.
Rebecca Ball, 46, a former architect, says: ‘i took a career break, as the long hours and travel demands of architecture did not fit around a family.’
When Rebecca (pictured) tried to return to architecture seven years later, she found wages had fallen and working hours were inflexible.
‘Working late was normal, so women with families were not ideal candidates,’ she says.
When she heard about returnships — paid internships aimed at returners — she attended a Women Returners conference and later applied for a returners’ programme at telecoms firm O2, as it had flexible work and training. After taking part in its 2017 initiative, Rebecca was taken on as a manager in O2’s London infrastructure team.
She says: ‘i am using my experience in aesthetics, construction and contract management to help build relationships with landlords, city planners and developers. i’m at a level i was at before, and there is potential to exceed that. The returner programme made me realise that my generic skills, such as management, could be used outside my previous sector. A career break is not negative — things you achieved in your break can add to your skills.’ O2’ s career returners programme, open to female and male professionals, includes training, mentoring and experience in a variety of roles. Women Returners MD Julianne Miles says: ‘The number of returnships is increasing. Women Returners lists over 40 organisations that offer programmes or returner support, in sectors including finance, law, science, communications and healthcare.’ Ann Pickering, HR director at O2, says: ‘ Momentum around returnships is building, but business must broaden its attitude to recruiting men and women who are returning from a career break or risk missing out on leadership potential.’