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Returning from a career break? Employers want you

Thousands of women in the UK choose to take a career break when they start a family

This could simply be for a year or two, or even until the children reach high school age, but they will eventually want to return to the workforce. Some women find it hard to get back into a similar position to the one they left, but there are many employers that want to take on these workers.

Discrimination

For years, women returning from a career break have felt discriminated against and end up taking lower-paid and less-managerial positions simply to get back to work.

Research conducted on behalf of PwC, the 30% Club and Women Returners estimated that around 249,000 of the 427,000 women on a career break in this country would take up a lower-skilled position. Another 29,000 will work less hours and see a 12-32% decrease in their hourly wages.

Time for change

We are beginning to see some elements of change and more of the major companies are becoming aware of the potential benefits these returning workers could bring to their business. Some of them have introduced formal recruitment and training schemes to provide returners with a route back into the workplace.

These initial schemes were developed by financial companies, such as ‘Real Returners’ at Credit Suisse; however, more male-dominated industries, such as construction, are now seeking out this group of workers.

Engineering company Tideway operates a returnship programme that runs for 12 weeks to help both women and men to see whether they want to return full-time. It gives them the chance to update themselves on the industry, develop their CV, and gain experience in an office.

Returning to work can seem like a daunting prospect, with the need to juggle a work life with the demands of a family. These types of schemes help both employees and employers to see whether it will work for them.

Returning to work

If you are thinking of returning to work after a career break, there are some top tips to help you to promote yourself successfully and get the role you really want.

Networking is an important way of meeting key people, so follow their Twitter profiles, connect with them on LinkedIn, and see whether there are any local industry events.

You do not need to ignore the career break when writing your CV or attending an interview, but try to bring out the suitable skills you have gained in this time or any voluntary work you have been involved in. Consider the possibility of a returnship programme – even if you do not end up with a position from it, you will still gain some valuable experience.

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