Flexible working a key issue for returners

One in six women return to work in a different function after taking a career break and 38% change industry sector with flexible working being a key factor for well over half, according to a new report.

The report, “Bringing Talent Back to the Workforce: How to make returner programmes work for your organisation”, is published by the Executive Coaching Consultancy who say that employers wanting to attract and retain returner talent need to build flexibility into their thinking.

It is based on a survey of 203 people, mainly women, who are looking to return or have recently returned after a career break and highlights from a returner’s perspective the personal constraints and professional challenges they face and what an employer can do to ensure their return is a success.

Over half (54%) who have returned rank striking a comfortable balance between home and work responsibilities as the biggest challenge in their professional and work life and said their biggest personal constraint to returning to work was finding alternative care arrangements for their children (46%).

Networking was ranked as the second highest professional challenge (51%) by returners as home responsibilities reduce their availability to participate in networking events held outside regular office hours.

Almost one in four returners also struggled with self-confidence.

Geraldine Gallacher, Managing Director, ECC and author of the report said: “This research shows that while offering returner support is a great way to mobilise the returner workforce there are teething problems with the support employers currently offer. In order for both parties to get the most from a returner employers need to consider the full range of support they might offer in order to identify which will most effectively meet business objectives and the needs of returners. Employers that can offer effective support to attract and retain returners will find themselves sitting on a talent goldmine.”



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