Hazel Little

Hazel Little from Women Returners blogs about the Returners to Financial Services programme and how its success has led to the launch of a new programme later this year.

Glasgow is thriving and with many businesses continuing to accelerate their growth in the city it's an exciting time.  Business services already employs 40,500 people within insurance, banking, legal and accountancy.   Barclay's expansion will see 2500 additional roles and the FinTech sector is rapidly growing.  This is all positive for the growth of Glasgow, but it begs the question, how will employers find the talent needed to meet the business demands?

In April this year, Women Returners launched a Returners to Financial Services Scotland Programme.  The programme, which was funded by the Scottish Government, enabled 12 financial organisations based in Scotland to connect with professional women who had taken a career break and wanted to return to corporate work.  With over 450 applications for the programme, there was a phenomenal response, and this is indicative of the number of women who have professional experience and want to get their foot back on the career ladder.  Several Glasgow based companies including CYBG, BNP Paribas Securities Services, Incremental Group, Mazars and Prudential participated in the cross-company pilot and have reported it as being a great success for their business.

Hazel Little

Following the success of the Returners to Financial Services programme, we have been granted additional Scottish Government funding to deliver another returner programme for the wider business sector in Scotland.  This is a great opportunity for business services companies in Glasgow to pilot a returner programme in a very cost-effective way and benefit from the wealth of return talent that is available in Scotland. Barclays Scotland have signed up and many other companies are showing interest.

We all know that increased diversity is proven to improve client relationships, increase innovation, build better teams and helps create an attractive brand.  In addition, hiring returners into the business also helps retain younger employees who see the opportunity for taking a career break and returning to a progressive environment.  Ensuring that businesses fill their talent pipeline with women who have chosen to step out of the workplace is an essential part of talent strategy.  It also helps improve the gender pay gap by bringing experienced women back in at a level commensurate with their experience.

As a returner myself, I know how difficult it is to get a foot back on the career ladder following an extended career break.  My strategic HR career was in the shadow of my 3-year break to spend time with the children.  I was told by recruiters that I didn't stand a chance because of my time out, a message that we hear all too often.  A recent US study reported that employers would rather hire someone who was less experienced than someone who was on a career break.  There is fear that someone who has taken time out has lost their skills and ability to perform when in fact they've learnt new skills and bring a different and fresh perspective.

So, in answer to my question, how will employers find the talent needed to meet business demands? By sourcing talent from different routes and returners should be one of them.  In Scotland it is a relatively untapped talent pool that brings fantastic business benefits.

If you are an organisation within business services who values diversity and wants to leverage this pool of experienced and talented professionals, then please contact me . The programme will run for 16 weeks starting in November.  Women Returners will provide employers with expert consultation, best practice guidance, promotional and manager support, including a returnship toolkit, programme advertising and line manager training. Returners will receive Career Returners Coaching Programme through four group workshops. The full cost of this is covered by the government funding.

Participating employers will provide CV worthy work (either a project or BAU role) and an internal buddy and mentor and will pay the returner salary at a professional level.

Women Returners is a consulting, coaching and network organisation.  We are the UK experts in enabling the return to work of professional women following an extended career break.

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