“The other candidate had more recent relevant experience.” This cliché is frequently used to reject an unsuccessful candidate. But where does that leave people returning to work after a career break? Although there has been growth in the number of returnships and supported hire returner programmes in the UK, there is still a talent pool brimming with untapped potential, which continues to be overlooked.
“Return to Workers”
Those employers who do recruit “return to workers” are finding that they bring an impressive range of skills and experience from their previous employment together with an enhanced motivation and a fresh perspective. Employers who see this, and champion the idea of a career break as being positive, are likely to be more forward thinking than their competitors and have a commitment to their diversity and inclusion agenda. This gives them the added advantage of having a stronger and more fully engaged workforce, something which is worth its weight in gold in such challenging times.
Equally, “return to workers” need to stop underselling themselves, and have the confidence to apply for jobs that are closely aligned to their skills and experience. They need to recognise the skills learnt since becoming a parent and see their relevance in the workplace. Ultimately, for the tables to turn fully, both parties need to step up, do their bit and be as flexible as possible to accommodate and achieve their shared goals.
With an ageing workforce now extending to and beyond 70, dual career couples the norm and increasing need for eldercare, the likelihood that the majority of the workforce will want or need a career break is very high, so we might as well make decent provision for it for all our sakes.