We’ve put together a short video of practical and inspiring return to work tips from our Conference speakers:
- Jane Garvey, Presenter of Woman’s Hour
- Tiffany Grimwade, Project Manager, Skanska
- Samina Malik, Supply Manager, O2
- Ingrid Waterfield, Director, KPMG
- Maggie Stilwell, Managing Partner, EY
- Tina Sharp, Portfolio Analyst, MV Credit
- Brenda Trenowden, Global Chair 30% Club
We were delighted to have the opportunity to feature on BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour for the second time on Monday this week. With all the post-Budget headlines on the self-employed and national insurance contributions a lot of people would have missed the positive announcement of a £5m fund to support return-to-work programmes. We’re really passionate at Women Returners about raising awareness for women about the options when they’re thinking about returning to work and providing support, advice and resources. We’re also extremely keen to be extolling the benefits and the business case to organisations for recruiting from this highly talented pool of women on career break.
The returnships feature with Jane Garvey on Woman’s Hour allowed us to raise awareness and promote the benefits, which was fantastic. On a personal level, being on national radio was a bit nerve-wracking – I re-read a couple of the Women Returners blogs on confidence over the weekend for courage! Having to get two young children ready for school in the morning before the interview though kept me grounded. My two boys were disappointed I wasn’t on a ‘cooler’ station like Radio 1. We were really pleased with the balance of the feature; a personal and inspiring case study from a returner at KPMG as well as having Israil from Skanska to give an employer’s point of view and Women Returners to chip in on the trickier points! If you have 10 minutes to spare do take the time to listen and feel free to share with friends and family who might be interested:
On International Women’s Day this week, Theresa May announced that £5m would be provided for the development of returnships in the UK:
It is fantastic to get support for career break returners on the Government agenda. I hope that this can build on the work we have done since 2014 to develop the UK returnship market based on the strong business case. The fund should provide a means of accelerating growth to new sectors and regions, enabling progress towards our objective of making returner programmes a widespread part of regular annual recruitment.
A returnship is a higher-level internship designed specifically for professionals returning after an extended career break (usually defined as over 2 years, to target the group who find it hardest to resume their professional careers). The UK programmes are open to men as well as women, whatever the reason for the break, however it’s no surprise that the vast majority of people with big CV gaps are returning mothers/carers.
Are they worth doing?
Great idea – does it work in practice? We’ve now supported many employers and cohorts of returners on returnship programmes and we can answer a firm ‘yes, it works for both the returner and the organisation’ – just read our returner programme case studies. It’s not a box-ticking exercise for companies. We’re not claiming it’s been plain sailing for all participants, or for the programme managers come to that, however if you approach a returnship with the right mindset it’s one of the best ways we’ve found to take the fast track back to a professional role. The majority of participants, typically 60-85%, are offered ongoing positions and for those where the right role isn’t available most have taken up great opportunities elsewhere (see Anna’s story for an example).
There are downsides. You have to live with uncertainty during the programme about whether you’ll get a permanent role at the end (if you feel ready and able to get straight into a permanent role, a returnship probably isn’t for you). These are pilot programmes for most organisations, so you need to have a pioneer mindset and to play an active role in making the programme work for yourself and the business.
We keep a list of UK & other European returnship programmes on our website: see here. There were 23 programmes in the UK last year and some programmes are now on to their 2nd or 3rd year. Numbers are still small, but rising quickly, and the budget funding should provide a major boost. Although there is a focus on the South East and on financial services and construction, the market is evolving rapidly and we’re co-developing programmes in a range of sectors and locations. As the concept becomes more well-known, keep your ears open locally as you may well find companies offering returnships we don’t hear about (do keep us posted as we aim to collect on-going statistics on the returnship market).
*read the original version of this blog here if you want to see how far we’ve come
Posted by Julianne
Following on from our recent guest post: “5 steps to successfully negotiate your return-to-work role”, Kate, our Lead Coach, shares her experience to help you to work out what salary to ask for and how to value yourself when you’re negotiating your first role back at work.
confident do you feel about knowing what you are worth?
confidently could you articulate and communicate your value in monetary terms
to a potential employer?
confident are you at negotiating what you would like to be paid?
another phrase that along with mentions
of “networking” and “elevator pitch”
can conjure up groans of despair and sheer dread! I often see clients visibly
shudder when contemplating this subject.
applies to the majority of people who find this a particularly tricky area to
negotiate. In the UK, it’s partly a cultural thing – we are too polite to talk about
money! But if we don’t have these frank discussions with an employer it can
lead to problems later on. Research suggests that whilst money alone is
unlikely to be an intrinsic source of motivation for most people, if the money
side is wrong and you feel underpaid and thus undervalued, then that is likely
to become a source of de-motivation.
throw a career break into the mix too?
challenging for those returning to the workplace following a career break as
you may be feeling out of touch with current salaries as well as convincing
yourself that the break inevitably means that you must be penalised financially.
As our guest blogger, Natalie Reynolds recently commented, “Many returners are more likely to gratefully accept any terms rather
than to consider negotiating…” However selling yourself short is unlikely
to be helpful in the long term and indeed could cause you problems later when
it comes to moving into new roles. So what can you do to become more confident
at negotiating your salary successfully first time back?
salary you should be asking for
- Research the
marketplace for the type of role you are seeking to gain a benchmark of the
salary range that you can expect to be targeting.
- Be realistic – there is
likely to a range dependent on variables such as the size of the business, the
location, and how structured their internal salary grading structures might be.
- Consider how specialist your skill-sets are and how easy
or not it is for employers to source these.
This should also happen well before
you get to the point of job offer – be informed throughout the whole process,
ideally before you begin any form of job search.
- Websites such as www.salary.com, www.glassdoor.co.uk and www.payscale.com provide a plethora of advice and
information on the market value for current roles as well as tips and
information on approaching negotiation.
- Professional membership bodies
such as the ICAEW and CIPD may also have useful salary information relating to
your specific professional field.
- Ask recruitment consultants and
contacts in the relevant industries. There are several recruitment firms listed on the Women Returners website who actively support the hiring of Returners; they
will have a broad view of companies and what people in similar positions are
with the role you are actually doing can lead to misunderstanding by future
employers or recruitment consultants. Equally being clear on your financial
worth is also a test that the employer understands the match of the role on
offer with your skills and experience. Returners often believe that they need
to take a role many levels below their skill-set and worth just to get back in the workforce, but our experience suggests that this will quickly be problematic as the role is
unlikely to be a good fit (unless you have a clear rationale such as moving to a very different sector or getting a foot in the door in your ideal company). By the time you are at the point
of negotiation have a good convincing story to prove your skills are up-to-date and to demonstrate the value you offer.
- Don’t apologise
for your career break when you enter into negotiations. Be confident that your skills remain your
skills and they hold value to the employer.
- Don’t answer immediately if you’re offered a salary – deflect
and say you would like to think about it. This gives you time to prepare your
counter offer and state clearly and confidently what is behind the figure you
have come up with.
- Think about the broad picture –
what is the total remuneration on offer not just base salary?
- Explore the opportunities for trade-offs. If the company has a budget below where you would like to be, what can
they offer in return? Flexible working perhaps, extended annual leave, or the opportunity to review
salary within a 3-month probationary period rather than wait for an annual
- Don’t be afraid to have a walk-away point. If you feel very unhappy with the salary, and don’t have a clear rationale for taking the role or an agreed progression plan, ask yourself whether this role is a match with your skills and the
type of organisation you want to work for.
- Remember that pushing yourself out of your comfort zone
to successfully negotiate what you want will be a surefire confidence boost for your return to