A Bridge Back to Work: The Career Gap

Posted on Nov 16th, 2021 by Beckie

COVID-19 has shaken the very foundations of the world’s economy and has also greatly impacted the income of the global workforce with people forced to leave their jobs in staggering numbers. This has happened either due to increased responsibilities at home, such as caring for an elderly or immunocompromised relative, or companies laying off employees due to increased costs.

And whilst the pandemic has paved the way for new and innovative ways of working, namely remote working, it has still dealt a tough blow to certain individuals, especially women, looking to get back to work after a long hiatus.

A recent study conducted by the Guardian found that nearly 70% of women are afraid of taking a career break. It has also been observed that professionals returning to work after a long gap in their careers experience a loss in confidence and therefore find it extremely difficult to secure a new role after many years out.

All of these factors inevitably beg the question; are returner programmes an innovative solution to enable individuals to return to their previous job roles? And how can you remove barriers and encourage individuals to upskill themselves?

As the CEO and Co-Founder of Tech Returners as well as the Founder of The Confidence Community, I understand the how the right kind of infrastructure and support can play a role in helping individuals jumpstart their careers. Both of my current roles are borne out of the personal experience and the desire to create better experiences for others.

Having returned to a tech career myself some eight years ago, I was shocked at the lack of support I received after returning from maternity leave and I knew something had to change. Through my work with Tech Returners, I began to spot gaps as well as the immense need to remove the barriers to individuals who want to return to the industry but have limited resources to do so. I realised that I could help these individuals, many of whom were women, to reintegrate themselves within the technology sector and provide them with the confidence and skills needed to help them progress and succeed.

As an organisation we have been running returner programmes since 2017. The driving force behind which is the motivation to inspire change and impact in people’s lives. Whilst it is truly amazing to be recognised by your industry and your peers for your contributions and efforts, those single, small moments when someone who had previously written themselves off or had given up on their career comes up to you to say thank you and that you have changed their life. That is what pushes me to get up every single day and work towards a better future for all such people.

So, should your organisation set up returner programmes? Here are some factors to take into consideration:

Understand your business goals

I feel that this is the hardest part of all! Most organisations struggle with workforce planning. It is always necessary to identify your long-term business goals as well as the individual roles within the organisation. Ask yourself whether there is a need for a returner programme in your company and whether it aligns with your business goals.

Returners bring benefit

A successful returner programme will indeed have a positive impact on your company’s brand image as it communicates to stakeholders your willingness to provide flexibility to certain members of your workforce. These may include new parents as well as other individuals who may otherwise experience difficulty returning to their chosen fields.

Lead from the top

Senior leaders need to buy into returner programmes and understand their importance. Commitment from leadership, key stake holders, and support from the team is paramount to help making this change happen.

Support talent

Hiring mid-level engineers is an innovative way to expand and grow your talent. Creating accessible routes and suitable roles for these individuals helps grow their careers and benefits your organisation.

Line Manager support

Your line managers are likely to be the ones working with these individuals on a day-to-day basis. They need to be trained to understand the importance and reasoning behind these returner programmes and the benefits that the hiring programme can bring.

Meet and Greet

This may sound simple enough, but during the interview process, it is important to remember that these individuals have been out of the workplace for a few years. The assessment process needs to be relevant and comfortable for the candidate. The individual must understand what you as an organisation are offering if they are successful with the role.

With these steps, some effort, and a little luck, you and your company should be on your way towards instituting an effective returner programme, one that benefits both the organization and your workforce.

Booking.com has partnered with Tech Returners to reinvest in their returner talent and is now investing in growth, development, and discovery in search for experienced and talented software developers.

Starting In December 2021, you can easily make your return to tech as a Software Engineer and secure a role with Booking.com

For more information and to take part in our programme, apply today: https://tech-returners.breezy.hr/p/95377544eefa01/apply?source=techreturners.com