Employers’ Advice on Succeeding as a Returner Candidate

On the second Employer Panel at our Women Returners ‘Back to Your Future’  Virtual Conference last month, Claire Cohen, Women’s Editor and Associate Features Editor of the Telegraph, talked to 5 of our employer partners about How to Succeed as a Returner Candidate. Read on for top tips from Credit Suisse, FDM Group, J.P. Morgan, O2 and St. James’s Place Academy about the key attributes they’re looking for.

What stands out in a returner application

“We want to learn about you as an individual, what makes you interested in returning to work.”

“Getting across who you are as a person. If we’re looking for entrepreneurs, make sure that comes across – give us something to ask you about in the first interview!”

“Use the space provided – not too short so you undersell yourself, and not too long that you ramble on!”

“We’re really interested in your career history – share this and your years of experience.”

“We’re looking for your transferable skills – what can you bring to us?”

“Make sure you can talk about both your previous experience and what you want to do now. A future-focussed attitude is hugely important.”

“If you’re passionate about the role, pull out your great experience, discuss your transferable skills, talk about your career break as a matter of fact and place yourself confidently into that candidate pool.”

What key skills are they looking for

“Highlight your ‘future of work’ skills – communication, stakeholder management, presence, and relationship building.”

“In this year of resiliency; adaptability, flexibility and really good communication skills are ever more important.”

“We can build your skills and train you up; we’re interested overall in your attitude, positivity and how you’ll bring proactiveness to the workplace.”

“Have confidence in yourself and what you bring.”

Thoughts on a career break

“You bring a fresh perspective which is really valued.”

“Don’t be scared of your career break. Remember your past career, what that felt like, what you’re good at, what you bring. Don’t underplay that or undersell yourself. Sell your strengths.”

“Organisations are looking for talent so don’t apologise for your career break.”

“Don’t forget you’re a very capable person and have achieved a lot in your former career and potentially on your career break. You will have honed your transferable skills a great deal – don’t underestimate that as all of that is valuable when you come back to work.”

Advice on returning

“Consider what roles are available in the market and how your skills can be transferred into roles that perhaps you hadn’t thought of. The first opportunity will open doors and help you establish a network and then other opportunities may then open up.”

“Everything comes back very naturally. Don’t be afraid – believe in yourself! Turn down the voice of that inner critic.”

“Ask lots of questions – there are no stupid questions.”

“For returners, confidence tends to starts on a high and then drops after a couple of weeks when you fear you’ve bitten off more than you can chew. This cycle is totally natural. My advice is to ride it out. Returnships are an amazing opportunity and stepping stone and like all opportunities there’s ups and downs. Keep a mindset of positivity – seize the day and be honest about the support you need to make it work”.

“Reach out and network with others because everyone’s feeling the same.”

How to balance any caring responsibilities and work

“Share what your situation is and what your responsibilities are – be open and honest so that your line manager can help you adapt or solve any issues together.”

“Returning to work is tiring – learn how to be kind to yourself. Surround yourself with the right support – some of that’s from partners and people at home, some of that’s from the cohort you’re with and some of that’s from your manager on the programme.”

What the best returners do that makes them shine

“They have inner belief in themselves. They’re clear on why they’re doing this. They’re open and  honest.”

“They’re willing to learn and take on feedback. They ask for help when they need it.”

“They bring a lot of determination and motivation.”

“They demonstrate flexibility.”


These comments are a great illustration of the value that leading employers place on returning professionals and the skills and experience you bring to the workplace. For more advice, support and news of job opportunities, sign up to our free Women Returners Professional Network, and check out our wide range of articles on our Advice Hub.

Employers’ Rationale for Hiring Returners

On the first Employer Panel at our Women Returners ‘Back to Your Future’  Virtual Conference last month, Isabel Berwick, Work & Careers Editor of the Financial Times, talked to 6 of our employer partners about their Rationale for Hiring Returners. Amazon Web Services (AWS), the Bank of England, Bloomberg, Civil Service HR, Facebook, and Moody’s, in an uplifting conversation, discussed the key role returners play in their organisations’ talent strategy. If you’re doubting the value that you can bring to an employer, get confidence from their comments on why employers see returners as a strong talent pool:

Why organisations hire returners

“As an organisation we’re really committed to increasing the diversity of our representation. We want our teams to represent the broader range of experiences, backgrounds, identities, abilities. Finding diverse talent can be challenging – returners offer a new pipeline of talent.”

“If you want a truly inclusive strategy and value people from all backgrounds and experiences, returners will offer a unique set of experiences and skills.”

“Returners are a key part of our overall talent strategy. We want employees from all backgrounds with diverse perspectives that can connect to and support our customers.”

“Returners are an important aspect of improving gender diversity and helping us to reduce our gender pay gap.”

Why organisations run returner programmes

“We want to represent the diversity of the community in which we operate. Returner programmes represent a dedicated alternative channel to ensure we’re accessing the full breadth of diverse talent available.”

“The structure of a returner programme is really valuable – joining as a cohort, the inbuilt network, the coaching. It’s an opportunity for returners to try out returning to work.”

“It’s important to have a returner programme so that mechanisms are in place to ensure we’re hiring returners into the business, and that the environment they come into is supportive and inclusive, so that they can thrive in their careers and have access to a support network.”

“The returner programme enables us to ensure returners are provided with the right opportunities in role, and access to networks and training, to help them to bring the skills and experience they have to bear and to be successful.”

“A returner programme offers peer support and structured management support – an induction, line manager support, mentoring, external coaching (from Women Returners) to help returners’ confidence grow in role. All are particularly helpful after a long career break.”

“The returner programme is part of our overall strategy to bring more diversity into our organisation. A programme ensures we’re being deliberate about it and are setting returners up for success.”

The skills returners bring to the workplace

“Returners have broad experience and technical ability and qualifications, plus the talents which have increased with their break. They learn other skills – perseverance, communication, flexibility – during their break. Change is constant, and we need people who can adapt. Technical skills and life skills are key.”

“Every time I came back from maternity leave, I came back stronger, more resilient, more confident. As people come back from career breaks, I see they bring greater skills and perspectives because of their break than before. As corporations, we mustn’t miss out on all the skills and experience that resides within this talent pool”

“We’re interested in the other diverse skills that returners gained on their career break, and how they can bring these into the workplace. It’s a win-win.”

“We look at the totality of a returner’s experience and what you bring, and how it’s a good fit for the roles available.”

Final thoughts

“Diversity & Inclusion is more and more becoming a lens through which we view what we do and the choices we make. An inclusive culture that allows people to perform at their best isn’t just the right thing to do – it’s good for business!”

“Returners are very highly valued for the experience they have”

“It’s really hard to hire good talent – we need you!”


In our next blog post, we explore more highlights from our Conference Employer Panels: what employers are looking for in returner applications and the key skills and strengths that will help you succeed on your return to work journey.  For more advice, support and news of job opportunities, sign up to our free Women Returners Professional Network, and check out our wide range of articles on our Advice Hub.

Advice from Employers to Returners – How to Make Yourself Stand Out in CVs and Interviews

At our 2019 Women Returners ‘Back to Your Future’ Conference, Claire Cohen, Women’s Editor of The Telegraph, interviewed five of our employer sponsors who have experience of running successful returner programmes: Bloomberg, Credit Suisse, FDM Group, Fidelity International and O2.

Read some of the highlights on CV and interview advice from the panel’s responses below (and see our previous post on recognising your value too).
How can you write a great CV for a returner programme? “Make sure you bring out your career break on your CV – the experience that you’ve had and what you’ve done, the skills that you’ve learned. Some people leave this out and just put the dates in instead of explaining what they’ve done during that period.”

“Most people have amazing backgrounds. Demonstrate the skills you want the employer to see, bring those out with some real-life examples on your CV.”

“What I really look for is experience – make sure this is fully explained on your CV and at the interview as well, because the experience you bring is so different from other candidates and that’s what really sets you apart.”

“Put your career break front and centre of your CV. There’s no point in trying to hide it – why should you? It’s absolutely part of who you are and the experience you’re bringing to the role so draw that out at the beginning.”

“If you want an employer to give your CV time, to give you time, you need to put the time in yourself. Before you press the send button read it a second, third time and just make sure that it makes sense.”

How can you present yourself well during an interview?

“It’s very important to come to the table with what you are bringing to the organisation and not to focus on what you may not have, such as technical/digital skills.”

“Be prepared. When you go to that interview know your CV, know your skills and don’t dismiss the soft skills.”

“Articulate what your top strengths are – this can be powerful in an interview.” (see What’s your Unique Strengths Combination)

“Don’t define yourself by what you’ve done before. Think about transferable skills. Break down what you’ve done into elements that will help an employer understand what you bring to the table.”

“Try to be succinct. Articulate exactly what skills you bring.”

“Don’t undersell what you’ve been doing – a lot of people undersell what they’ve done during their supposed ‘time out’.”

Sign up to our free network for more advice, support and job opportunities.You’ll find much more help and advice on our website.

Advice from Employers for Returners – Recognising your Value

At our 2019 Women Returners ‘Back to Your Future’ Conference, Claire Cohen, Women’s Editor of The Telegraph, interviewed five of our employer sponsors who have experience of running successful returner programmes: Bloomberg, Credit Suisse, FDM Group, Fidelity International and O2.

Read some of the highlights from the panel’s responses below (more to come in our next blog).

Why do employers run returner programmes?

“We were thinking about this talent pool that’s incredibly talented and has amazing skills and we thought we’re going to tap into this to help us solve one of our business problems. So we launched in 2014 and it’s been brilliant for us. We’re now in our sixth cohort and we have a fantastic group of alumni who’ve been through the programme and are active participants in our day to day work.”

“The proof is in the pudding. The more returnships we run and the more the hiring managers see the quality of the candidates coming into those programmes and what they can bring over and above another hire from another bank, or similar institution, is really valuable and I can only see that growing.”

What benefits do returners bring to the workplace?

“[Returners] come in with a really fresh pair of eyes. They can look at our processes and our systems and the way that we work quite differently and it’s a real breath of fresh air – that’s what we hear from our managers.”

“Another thing that I’ve seen is the enthusiasm when they come back and the fact that they bring so much – they want to give back to the organisation. I can cite several examples of our returners acting as mentors to some of the more junior women. They are active participants in key elements of our organisation.”

What are employers looking for in a returner candidate? 

“I want flexibility of mind. You’re not the same person as before your career break. You want us to see this a positive so you’ve got to see that as a positive as well. Be flexible, be open! Your time out has taught you a lot.”

“We’re constantly looking at ways to improve things so any type of improvement or process improvement [including during your career break] that you’ve done will be really valuable to organisations.”

“Flexibility – we want to move people around the organisation so I’d really encourage people to be really open-minded about what they initially start to do because it could lead on to so many other things once you’re there.”

What have they have been surprised by when running returner programmes?

“I knew the talent was going to be good but it’s far surpassed what I thought. For me its been really eye-opening. We get to see these amazing resumes coming in all the time. The talent pool is truly outstanding and it’s very much untapped.”
“I never expected how much of an integral part of the community [returners] would be in terms of giving back to the organisation several years in. They’re really involved and engaged and willing to support those coming after them.”

Sign up to our free network for more advice, support and job opportunities.You’ll find much more help and advice on our website.


Top Tips from Returner Employers

For those of you who missed our Conference on Monday, we’ll be sharing tips, advice and video on this blog over the coming weeks. To get started, here’s some advice from our returner employer panel.

Be clear on the skills you bring
The panel suggested that returners practice articulating what skills they bring, and also advocating for the skills they developed while on their career break. Sharmini Selverajah, Head of the Returner Policy Team at the Government Equalities Office said “Remember to recognise the skills you gained outside of paid work”. She confirmed that she is much better at her work as a result of experience raising her children, including managing and negotiating.
Flexibility is possible
The panel confirmed that many returners are working flexibly. Stephanie Marshall, Talent Acquisition Lead for Fidelity International, stated that flexible working is now requested by employees throughout the organisation, including millennials. Five years ago, no one would ask about flexibility. “Now, they are much more up front about it,” she said.
Practice your negotiation skills
Tricia Nelson, Head of Talent at EY, suggested women returning to work should practice their negotiation skills, be direct about what they need and not talk themselves out of a higher salary or better terms. “Ask for what you want and then zip it,” she said. “Don’t unpack it live.” Alexander Clifford-Turner, EMEA chief financial data offer for Bloomberg, agreed: “It’s a very good tactic to say what you want and shut up.”
Don’t sell yourself short
Returners are now seen by many employers as a valuable talent pool. Sharmini Selverajah said “The business case is clear”. Of course, you need to find the employers who will value your skills and experience – looking for companies with returner programmes and/or family-friendly working policies is a good way to do that.

Returner Employer Q&A – Stephanie Marshall, Fidelity International

Julianne from Women Returners interviews Stephanie Marshall, Fidelity International UK & Ireland Talent Acquisition Lead and Programme Manager on Fidelity New Horizons Returner Programme.
Q. What was Fidelity’s motivation for setting up the New Horizons programme?
A. There are a couple of motivators. We saw the huge value and
business benefit that a company like Fidelity could get from a returner
programme. I also felt quite passionately about it from a personal point of
view. I have been a return to work mother, and been in a position
where I’ve been out of work myself and looking to make a slight career
change. It was very difficult for me to break back into the sector,
until I approached an old client of mine who was willing to help me.
Q. What do you see as the business benefits?
A. There are several big business benefits. Firstly, to
improve gender diversity. Financial Services can sometimes have a reputation of
being a male-dominated environment. We chose the technology area as a
pilot for our returnship programme, because sometimes we find it challenging to
recruit women into those roles. Fidelity International has signed up
to the Women in Finance Charter, which is a UK Government initiative to
encourage more companies to report on their gender balance at a senior level. The
returner programme is one of the initiatives that will help us reach our goals.
From a more specific recruitment perspective, Fidelity International has
some offices outside of London, and it can sometimes be a challenge to find
candidates with niche skills that are local to us. However, we’ve found this
can also be a massive selling point for returners. Lots of people had a career
entirely in the City but don’t want to do that anymore. They want a job closer
to home that offers more flexibility, but still offers an interesting and
challenging place to work.
Finally, we operate in a very competitive environment, and the
experienced hire candidates we interview can sometimes be interviewing with
other firms. We always want to explore any avenue to open up new pipelines of
candidates for us.
Q. What are the challenges for Fidelity as a business to recruit
returners directly? Why did you feel you needed a returnship?
A. If you look at the demographics of a lot of organisations, there
can be an increased outflow of women compared to men. This can be for various
reasons but many leave to start a family. It’s a group that is then hard to reconnect with, who may feel that
they are unable to come back. We wanted to promote that Fidelity is a company
that supports people returning to work, and a returnship programme is a good
way to do that.
Q. What were your impressions when you first received the applications
for the New Horizons Technology Programme?
A. We were really, really encouraged, not just by the volume
of applications we received, but by the quality. Lots of candidates who applied
to us had a background in financial services. Many also had a
background in Technology although we didn’t say it was essential. There were
relevant candidates that were local to our offices and we may have missed those
in an ordinary recruitment cycle. This first impression was further
corroborated on the assessment day when the hiring managers were blown away by
the quality of the applicants that they saw. It was a really positive
Q. How many people did you bring into the organisation on the Technology
A. We brought three people in. One went into an IT support role, another
into risk, and the third into project management.
Q. What was the experience like for you as an organisation throughout
and at the end of the programme?
A. It was a new programme for us and we were very honest about that from
the beginning. I think the candidates appreciated our honesty because it was
new for them too. The partnership with Women Returners was very helpful from the
beginning as it enabled us to really think about the returners’ on-boarding
experience. We tried to connect them with as many peers and senior people
within the organisation as we could, so that they got to understand who we were
as a firm, what businesses we operated in and how we worked
We aimed to give the returners as much exposure, investment and help as
we could. To help them feel supported, we had a review point midway through the
programme, we had lunches and we encouraged them to attend a variety of talks. They
were each assigned a mentor who provided support outside of their day to day
team. We asked for their feedback at the end of the programme and were
encouraged to hear that it was a great experience for them.
Q. How did the support from Women Returners fit in with the overall
support programme?
A. Women Returners in my opinion offers a very high level of
support from beginning to end, which complemented the support we also gave
throughout the programme. Their coach gave a face to face briefing with the
people who were going to be managing the returners. This was a really
worthwhile exercise as they got to understand exactly how the programme was
being setup and what their responsibilities were. Women Returners was also
involved in the assessment day, where they led a workshop to make the
candidates feel more at ease and confident in preparation for the interviews in
the afternoon. They then hosted a series of workshops throughout the 20
weeks where they would come down to the offices and work through various
training modules with the returners to provide a safe space to express any
concerns they had. They acted very effectively as a conduit between
ourselves as the employer and the returners as the employees.
Q. What have been the main challenges for you running a returnship
A. That’s a tough one, no major challenges. The business was
receptive to it and were very willing to get on board, so we didn’t have to win
over anybody’s hearts and minds – they were there from the
Q. What have been the benefits for you as an organisation?
A. We have hired some exceptionally talented, committed returners who I
know have had a really rewarding experience, and who have all been offered
permanent roles. We have increased the quality of our workforce by
hiring these women, and that’s probably the biggest benefit to us, because any
organisation is only as good as the people within it. Our talent is our most
valuable commodity.
There has also been a lot of positive external and internal PR around
the programme. Returnships are very much in the media at the moment, talking
about how hiring returners is good for the economy and everyone involved. It’s
great to be a part of that and to show our employees that we are participating
in these programmes.
Q. What has the reception been more broadly within the business?
A. It’s been very good. One of the testaments of that is that the
programme has spread into other business areas. We started in Technology
and we are now doing a programme within the Investments space. We are looking
to scope out a programme in different business areas too. Alongside the successful
permanent hires, the main success is that we have expanded the programme beyond
its original pilot.
Q. What advice would you have for any other companies thinking of
running at returnship programme?
A. Getting key senior level business sponsorship is really
Understanding the type of roles that you want to bring people into is
also key. Having a well-defined job description, and knowing what the final
destination might be for the returner helps everybody have much more clarity
around the programme.
Making sure that everyone is on the same page, that’s not just an issue
for these kind of programmes, it’s an issue for all kind of
organisations. Get the right people in the room and get them agreeing on
the same things and everyone can move forward with the same understanding.
Q. Are you planning to run future programmes, do you think this will
become part of your annual recruitment?
A. I very much hope so. We have completed one programme and we are now
into our second. It’s something we hope to continue with going forward. I
thoroughly enjoyed working on it from a personal and professional point of
view. It’s good to find something in your work that you are passionate about.
It’s been a positive experience for me to be on this project, to drive it and
to deliver it.

Posted by Julianne

Q&A with Macquarie Group: An employer’s perspective on a returner programme

Julianne from Women Returners interviewed Fiona Griffin, Division Director at Macquarie Asset
Management to get the employer’s perspective on the benefits of running a returnship programme.
Macquarie Group has recently launched the new Macquarie Returner Programme in the UK. What is your motivation for running a returner programme?
We recognise that there’s a significant pool of highly
qualified, experienced professionals who are looking for the right opportunity
to get back into the workforce. By having a structured programme specifically
designed for that purpose, we hope to facilitate a successful return that
brings benefits to both Macquarie and the individual concerned. It’s also
important to demonstrate to our existing people that we value the investments
they make in their careers. A career break doesn’t mean the end of your career
with Macquarie, for many it can represent a new opportunity.
How does the Returner Programme fit with your other diversity initiatives?
Our commitment is to create and promote a diverse and
inclusive workplace for everyone. The Returner Programme fits in perfectly with
this. We recognise that the diversity of our people is fundamental to our
success. Testament to that are the four employee network groups that were
started by our people in EMEA. Each works on a different area of inclusion–
Balance – which promotes gender balance in the workforce; Pride – supporting
LGBT people and their allies; Engage – for those who are multilingual; as well
as a network for Parents and Carers.
What can participants expect from the Returner Programme?
The programme aims to show a Returner what it’s like to
own their career – something Macquarie people are expected to do on a daily
basis. If it’s a concept they enjoy, then participants will hopefully apply for
roles based on a deeper understanding of what it is like to work at Macquarie.
The programme is full time for 12 weeks and is designed to fit into the school
term. We believe in providing a positive environment for our people, which
is illustrated in all the additional benefits as part of our programme. Participants
are assigned to one of our business groups and given a mentor from that area. They will receive specialised group coaching support from Women Returners to aid their return to work, and there will be an opportunity to take part in various networking opportunities, gaining exposure to senior leaders across the entire group. My Family Care support and emergency backup care can also be provided, if it is required. At the end of the programme, participants will be eligible to be considered for a permanent role.
What advice would you give to prospective applicants?
If you have been contemplating a return to work after a
career break, this is a wonderful opportunity to get back into the workplace,
refresh your knowledge and confidence and re-engage. Change can be good – take
the opportunity.
Further information
Posted by Julianne

Life after a returnship. Q&A with Credit Suisse Real Returns 2014 participants

What happens to participants after a returnship programme? How do their careers develop and are they happy in the longer term to be back in the corporate world? We spoke to Adriana Ennab and Sinead O’Regan who were part of the first Credit Suisse Real Returns cohort (April to July 2014) to learn about their experiences since the programme. They also have some great advice for future participants. [If this inspires you to apply for the 2016 Real Returns programme, get on to it quickly as the deadline is this Sunday 17 January. See here for details]

Adriana, what is your current
role and remit?
I am a Director in the Public Affairs and Policy Department in London. The team
advises senior management and select clients on policy and regulation affecting
Credit Suisse’s strategy, its clients, Private Banking and Wealth Management
and the Capital Markets. We maintain an active dialogue and advocacy effort
with policymakers, trade associations, regulators, and international standard
setting bodies. The team covers a broad range of topics including Prudential,
Securities, Tax and Political Risk. Given my former background in Securities in
my previous life, my initial remit was covering Shadow banking, Collateral and Margin requirements on OTC Derivatives.

What are
your reflections on what you gained from the programme?
have gained my independence again. I remember who I was before I took time off
to raise a family. I am confident and feel fulfilled in a different way than
the fulfilment I got from raising a family. I feel like I am in control of my
life. I learn something new every day and I also teach something new. I am able
to help others through mentoring. I also feel like I am able to be a great role
model for my kids managing to work and raise a family.
How has your career
developed since the programme?
I began my new role at the end of the programme, I started with a blank page. I
knew about the markets back in my day but had no idea about the world of
Policy. I have been learning daily and building my knowledge. As mentioned
earlier, my original remit was securities focused as that was where my previous
experience was. I now cover areas such as Digital and am working on the
bank’s Brexit committee as well other exciting projects.
What advice would you
give to future returnship participants?
would advise you to not box yourself in. Do not only think of the job you did
previously but what your skill set is, what are your strengths and how can you
transfer those. The team working on recruiting for the Real Returns programme
did more than any head-hunter I had spoken to in the past. They did not try to
place me in the same role I had before but looked at how I could transfer the
skills that had made me successful previously into a new role. I would also
recommend reading the papers daily and keeping up to speed with trends in the
market and current affairs. If you have time, take classes that could help you
get up to speed faster when you start. Excel, PowerPoint, coding-anything that
you feel you are a bit behind the curve on. Not only will that help you once
you get a job you will also feel like you can hit the ground running.
would also suggest asking questions once you land at Credit Suisse. There is a
very open door policy from management. If you do not know, ask. Learn as much
as you can about your area, your division, and the bank. Meet as many people as
you can. Find a sponsor. Attend all the workshops that you can, use all the
fantastic resources at your disposal at the bank. Join the networks available.
You have much at your disposal at Credit Suisse but it’s up to you to take
advantage of it!
Sinead, what
is your current role and remit?
am currently working in the Compliance and Regulatory Affairs group. I am
responsible for contributing to various team initiatives, such as the Risk and
Control Self Assessments process, which leverages my previous professional skills
What are your reflections on what you gained from the programme?
Most importantly, the Program gave me an
entry point back into the corporate work environment. It was always my
intention to return to my professional career as soon as all my children were
in full time education, but after a four-year absence and four children, I knew
this wasn’t going to be easy. The Program was the perfect opportunity to test
drive a return to work and I valued the excellent support, mentoring and
training immensely, both from within my team and the Program. It gave me a
chance to re-fresh knowledge and re-use technology, all in a safe environment.
Over the course of the Program, I felt that I was brought back to the level of
professionalism and understanding that was standard for me in my prior
position. It was also a chance for me to try something new by working in a new
industry which would not have been possible outside of the Program. My
background is in Accounting and Tax and I qualified as an Irish Chartered
Accountant and member of the Irish Institute of Taxation. Prior to my absence,
the bulk of my career was spent with Andersen and subsequently Deloitte within
their respective taxation practices in Dublin, Luxembourg and laterally London
and my most recent role was with Deloitte London’s real estate taxation group
specialising in tax structuring of international real estate funds. Although it
is a complete change of industry, I have found that I have been able to
leverage my previous professional experience and knowledge. At the end of the
Program, I had built up valuable relationships both within and outside the team
especially the network of my fellow 16 ‘Real Returners’ as we supported each
other throughout the Program.
has your career developed since the programme?
program was a great start and I have remained in the same team, now as a permanent
employee, becoming more integrated, building relationships both within and
outside the team and taking on more responsibility as my confidence and
knowledge has grown.  I have also been able to combine the role very well
with family life through a great part-time arrangement. The biggest hurdle for
me in making a return to work manageable was the school holidays, especially
the long school summer holidays. So I agreed an arrangement giving me a 4 day
week and extra holidays. This works very well and gives me one day a week on a
Friday to organise the house and extra time to spend with the children during
the holidays. I am looking forward to my future within the team as we grow and
continue to tackle new and interesting work.  I am delighted with the
direction my work has taken and could never have imagined that I could combine
a great job and family life so well.
advice would you give to future returnship participants?
full use of the program’s amazing training, networking and mentoring
opportunities, as the Program passes by very quickly. Use the Real Return
cohort and alumni as it is a great resource and ready-made network, this is
invaluable in the initial settling-in period as there will be good days and bad
days! And going forward, they are a great point of contact in the different
sectors throughout the bank
other comments?
can’t recommend the Program enough, it has given me a chance to come back to a
corporate working world that I thought was behind me.
Posted by Julianne

Thames Tideway Tunnel returnship success

Great news! All seven ‘returners’ have been offered positions following completion of the first engineering/construction sector returnship, the Tideway Returner Programme, on which we partnered with Thames Tideway Tunnel.

The programme ran for 12 weeks from April-July and was the first UK returnship to run outside the financial sector. Participants were from diverse professional backgrounds and had taken career breaks of between 2 and 17 years. All have now been offered ongoing roles, in a variety of areas, from legal to finance to communications to engineering project management.

Participant feedback
Rachel Tomkins, who has taken up the role of Operations Manager after completing the returnship, said: “The past 12 weeks have provided me with an invaluable opportunity to prove myself in the workplace after a considerable career break. With Thames Tideway Tunnel and Women Returners, we’ve been offered great mentoring support and advice to successfully make the transition back to full time work. I am absolutely thrilled to have been offered a permanent role on such an exciting project and I hope many more women and companies can benefit from this scheme.”

Business Sponsor feedback
Julie Thornton, Head of HR at Thames Tideway Tunnel, said: “We have been delighted with our first cohort of returners; each has been a huge asset to our team over the past 12 weeks, demonstrated by the fact they have all landed positions on the project. I hope this encourages other engineering and construction companies to follow suit, and to realise they could be missing out on a hugely valuable pool of talent.”

Evidence of success
The programme success adds to the growing body of evidence that experienced professionals can quickly and effectively contribute to the workforce even after a very long career break. This is not news to us, but is vital information to challenge the stereotypes that still blind so many employers and recruiters to the talent they are missing by bypassing candidates with a CV gap.

Posted by Julianne

Bloomberg & Women Returners launch Bloomberg Returner Circle

We are
excited to announce a new UK initiative for returning professionals.
We are partnering with Bloomberg, the leading
financial information and trading platform provider, to launch the first
Bloomberg Returner Circle. This is an innovative London-based programme to support and engage talented individuals with experience in financial
services who have taken an extended career break. Bloomberg is committed to developing a more diverse
workforce and recognises both the value of this experienced group and the
challenges you can encounter in restarting your careers in suitable
corporate roles.
Note: The closing date for applications is 27th May 2015

What is a Returner Circle?

The Bloomberg Returner Circle is a two-day event to provide
support, information and an initial exploration of opportunities at Bloomberg.
Participants will have the opportunity to learn more about
Bloomberg through speaker sessions and networking with current employees.
You will participate in coaching workshops from Women Returners to develop
your self-marketing and interview skills and will benefit from networking
with a like-minded peer group of returning professionals. Through a range of
activities and discussions, there will be the opportunity to potentially match
your career goals, experience and skills with relevant financial products

Where and when is
the Returner Circle?

The Returner Circle will take place on 17th-18th June 2015 at Bloomberg’s
London offices.

Who should apply?

The Returner Circle is targeted at returning professionals with specialised
experience in financial services. Bloomberg is looking for expertise across one
or more financial asset classes, ideally gained through working in a front
office environment. Successful applicants are likely to have had a career break
of 18 months to 10 years and will be motivated to return to a permanent
role in financial services.

For more information
& to apply

Visit the Bloomberg Returner Circle page on our website to find out more about
the initiative, the participant requirements and how to apply for the Returner
Circle: http://wrpn.womenreturners.com/bloomberg-returner-circle/

NB Don’t forget to
clearly shown on your CV & in your cover letter that you meet the career
break criteria.

To find out more about Bloomberg visit: jobs.bloomberg.com/content/about/