How do Women Successfully Face and Transcend Challenges of Reentering the Workforce
Media & Events, Women's Leadership Roundtable

How do Women Successfully Face and Transcend Challenges of Reentering the Workforce After a Hiatus

When women working nontraditional jobs (freelance/other work at home), or serving as caregivers to parents / children, look to reenter the workforce, stigma exists – even in 2019.

Yet “nontraditional” women are leaders in their own right, advocating for senior parents / young children, or themselves while pursuing careers outside of corporate, and can bring unique, outside-of-the-box perspectives problem solve and innovate … IF they can get the chance to lead in a new position.

In 2016, the Society of Women Engineers partnered with Boston-based return-to-work services firm iRelaunch to create internships for returning female engineers. More than 100 women participated, and more than 90 percent of them were hired by the companies where they interned. The program was so successful that the society is doing it again in 2017. Its industry partners include such notable employers as Ford Motor Co., Johnson & Johnson and Northrop Grumman.

In the first year of the program, “The employers saw the leadership potential in these women,” said Karen Horting, the society’s executive director and CEO. “The hiring managers for these women were like: ‘Wow’.”

In 2007, there were more than 70 programs in the U.S.

designed to help highly skilled women like Butler who’d taken a detour out of the workforce to “onramp” and get back in. Then the financial crisis hit, and now, only a handful remain.

…the roughly one-third of all college-educated women in the United States who will leave the workforce at some point to care for children or aging parents, research at the Center for Talent Innovation has found, as workplace cultures continue to reward “all in” work and as women are still largely expected to be primary caregivers.

One of the emerging programs, the “Back to Work” program at the Rotman School of Management in Toronto, is thriving. Now in its fifth year, the program gets more than 200 applicants for the 35 available spots every year, said Beatrix Dart, associate dean of executive degree programs and executive director of the Initiative for Women in Business.

More than 70 percent of the women who’ve gone through the program have successfully returned to work, Dart said, many for one of the five major Canadian corporate sponsors of the program, who get to know the women through networking events and independent consulting projects the women undertake as part of the program.

“At first, the feedback we got is that maybe the companies thought they were doing us a favor. But now, they’re our biggest supporters. They tell us how absolutely thrilled they are,” Dart said. “They can’t believe how loyal, how committed and productive the women are. And the women are so grateful for a second chance, there’s a little bit of, ‘I want to show you I’ve still got it.’”

Check out the full article here “Programs to help women relaunch careers plummeted during recession”

We think it is time for businesses to step up and take action.

PwC claim that addressing the career break penalty experienced by professional women could deliver an annual earnings boost of £1.1 billion and additional economic output of £1.7 billion. Recruiters and employers need to work on addressing the negative bias towards career breaks and rethink how they can measure the skills and ability of job applicants.

Read the full article for more info “Returning to Work After a Career Break: Why the Stigma?”


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Date: March 15 at 11:30am MT

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