Are businesses ready to retrain & retain this experienced workforce?

Posted on Oct 11th, 2021 by Beckie

It has now been more than 2 years since the start of Pandemic, and it has transformed ways of living. The dynamics of everything have changed around us, let it be our normal day to day routine or the drastic changes we have experienced in the workforce over a short period of time.

As a result of this pandemic, many lost their jobs, while others, particularly women dropped out of the workplace because of caring responsibilities, and others were furloughed or made redundant.

On 21st Sept 2021, WM Round table hosted a round table conference on ‘Our Returning Initiatives: Getting people back to work after a career break’, sponsored by Tech Returners and Executive Coach Consulting.’

The round table learnings focused on returner initiatives and how women in particular struggle getting back to work after a long break, and the challenges and opportunities posed from cohort groups to employers.

The floor was open for dialogue where the following aspects to ‘return to work’ were discussed

• Outreach /Recruitment – What encourages people to return to work and apply and what future opportunities to promotions and link building there are for employees.

• Coaching / Ongoing support – How crucial it is to develop skills, build a new network and provide continuous support and guidance to embark on a successful career unique for the returners.

• Success Stories – How important it is for returners to get first-hand experience from the previous returners and how promoting their own success and experience can create a difference.

• Review and Feedback – the importance of incorporating feedback on every stage of the program and helping them grow

Manchester-based Beckie Taylor, CEO and CTO of Tech Returners and one of the sponsors of the Round Table shared her personal experience of helping returners back into tech.

‘I was a minority in women in tech, but also a parent minority in tech. The business was formed based on my personal experience’

It was through the work of community that it became evident of the lack of support there is for people especially returning to work.

Returning to work can be a very daunting experience as taking a career break is not always easy for everyone, partly because most companies are not able to accommodate flexibility, or the Pay scale is a lot less than what the returner has been on previously. There is also a factor of the lack of skills accessible to the returner to get back in the job. The apprehension of what will happen next makes it hard for the new tech to feel less confident in the first few weeks of them registering with the programme. For the returners to succeed, it is important for employers to provide a supportive learning environment and ongoing continuous support for the new tech returning to work after a long time. Companies attending the WM round table emphasised that regular coffee and networking sessions have created a positive impact on the returners and has helped boost their skills and confidence to get back to work.

Another angle is the success stories from returners from the previous cohorts. It is always inspirational to hear about their experience and they can become role models to those who are still new to tech. The round table concluded with solutions and opportunities presented to organisations and how they can cope with the ongoing challenges. For the returners programmes to succeed, it is important to measure success for the new tech returning to work. Without a doubt, the pandemic has worsened people’s routes back into their careers which has made returner programmes increasingly essential in supporting women to return to work.

Note from Beckie Taylor

Thank you, WM Round table, for giving me this opportunity to be a sponsor this round table and giving me a chance to share insights from my personal experience of driving change in the society and helping women return to work!

It was great hearing everyone’s insights, learnings, and best practices that each organisation applies with the returner programs.

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