‘Everyone should use a topical retinol’ — dermatologist Dr Rosemary Coleman on the essential skincare routine
‘Everyone should use a topical retinol’ — dermatologist Dr Rosemary Coleman on the essential skincare...

Holly O'Neill

Life after lockdown: 5 habits to keep and 5 to ditch forever
Life after lockdown: 5 habits to keep and 5 to ditch forever

Amanda Cassidy

7 brilliantly uplifting films worth watching this weekend
7 brilliantly uplifting films worth watching this weekend

Jennifer McShane

Feeling tense stuck indoors? Doing these 4 things could help ease your stress levels
Feeling tense stuck indoors? Doing these 4 things could help ease your stress levels

Jennifer McShane

5 of our favourite funny podcasts to get you through this weird weather weekend
5 of our favourite funny podcasts to get you through this weird weather weekend

Lauren Heskin

If we’re talking about blood clots, we should be talking about the Contraceptive Pill
If we’re talking about blood clots, we should be talking about the Contraceptive Pill

Jennifer McShane

This idyllic Georgian home in Kilkenny with artist’s studio and stone cottage is on the market for €1.3 million
This idyllic Georgian home in Kilkenny with artist’s studio and stone cottage is on the...

Megan Burns

Image / Editorial

Why returnships can help women smash the glass ceiling


by Colette Sexton
10th Feb 2020

Young mother working from home with baby boy in baby carrier. She is sitting in the dining room and using phone on a sunny day.

blank

Goldman Sachs are often credited with introducing returnships in 2008. Since then, hundreds of companies have followed suit.


Have you ever had the fear when returning to work after a holiday? After two weeks of sun, sea and sangria, you return to work and spend several minutes staring at your keyboard trying to desperately remember the password to your computer.

Now imagine how you would feel if, instead of a couple of weeks, you did not work for several years. Maybe you took time out to mind your children, maybe you were caring for a relative, maybe you were unable to work due to your own ill health. After that period, if you decided that you would like to return to work, where would you even start? 

Returnships

There is so much untapped talent out there among people who took time off work for whatever reason. Often those talented people can feel intimidated by the idea of returning to the workplace and they can find it difficult to get back to the senior positions they had before their career break.

According to a PWC study in the UK in 2018, 76% of professional women on a career break want to return to work. However, a US study found that 23% of women cited the stigma of having a gap on their CV as a barrier to re-entering the workplace.

Other issues stopping women returning to work include inflexible hours and the lack of part-time work. 

This is where returnships come in. Goldman Sachs are often credited with introducing returnships in 2008, and since then hundreds of companies have followed suit. Returnships are somewhat similar to student internships.

Companies hire people for a set period of time and during the period they support the returner with mentoring and training, which can cover technological advances, social media usage and cultural changes.

Flexible hours

Returnships also often include flexible hours and the ability to work from home if needed. The schemes allow returners to gain skills and confidence, and it gives employers access to experienced candidates. There is typically a high likelihood of a permanent role being offered following a returnship, if the placement has been a success. 

Research from MMB, the magazine for working women, found that 41% of the 1,000 working mothers surveyed feared they would not be put forward for promotion or that their career would stall on returning to work.

Returnships can reduce these risks as, when they are done properly, they give those returning to work a set out career path.

Now the Irish government is recognising the value of returnships. As part of Budget 2020, the Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty announced plans for the financing and development of returnships. The minister said that while often women have “bucketloads of experience”, they often lack the “confidence and belief in themselves” to return to work. The department is planning on launching the programme early in the new year. 

“While returnships will not solve all of the problems women face in the working world, they are an excellent step in supporting women.”

This follows the UK government, which has invested millions of pounds in recent years in encouraging people to return to work, both in the public sector and in the private sector. There has been impressive success in the UK.

Gender pay-gap

The vast majority of UK business leaders (83%) now have a return to work programme in place, either formally or informally, according to research from recruitment consultancy Robert Half UK, and nearly half have supports in place for people returning to work after becoming parents.

While returnships will not solve all of the problems women face in the working world, they are an excellent step in supporting women (and it is mainly women – 98% of parents that stay at home to mind children in Ireland are women).

Returnships can be another piece of the puzzle in solving the gender pay gap and getting more women on boards and at c-suite level.

We should be welcoming these programmes, and those talented returning women, with open arms. 


Read more: These 4 steps can help you to manage stress

Read more: 5 Irish businesswomen weigh in on the so-called ‘work-life balance’

Read more: Here’s how you can manage symptoms of work anxiety

Also Read

blank
EDITORIAL
‘Social media’s obsession with filtering faces is a form of self-gaslighting’

By Amanda Cassidy

blank
EDITORIAL
Is marketplace feminism stealing the limelight from real female-driven issues?

‘Femertising’ is big business. Brands are increasingly taking advantage of...

By Amanda Cassidy

blank
EDITORIAL
Eclipsed: The powerful, all-female play exposing a Magdalene Laundry you need to see

‘Eclipsed’ director Kate Canning told Jennifer McShane of the challenges...

By Jennifer McShane

Women with MS who take medication, especially immunosuppressants, cannot become pregnant unless they come off medication.
premium HEALTH & WELLNESS, REAL-LIFE STORIES
I had to weigh up the possibility of losing my mind against losing my future children

Holograms of the children she may never have dance across Dearbhla Crosses' mind as an MS diagnosis and Covid-19 are unwelcome reminders of her biological clock ticking.

By Dearbhla Crosse

blank
HEALTH & WELLNESS
The trickle of information from the Government on restrictions has made a grim situation so much worse

By Amanda Cassidy

blank
EDITORIAL
“You’re weird Mammy… other mothers iron”: Author Elske Rahill on writing and motherhood

“Every baby costs you a book” – that’s something women...

By IMAGE

Has society become more tolerant of the idea of dating interracially?
premium IMAGE WRITES, REAL-LIFE STORIES, RELATIONSHIPS
Interracial dating: “People kept asking ‘where is she from?'”

With diversity on the rise, what struggles do interracial couples continue to face today? Filomena Kaguako speaks to three couples about their experiences.

By Filomena Kaguako

Taylor Swift
EDITORIAL
I was not a fan of Taylor Swift. Then I watched her documentary

The documentary Miss Americana has shown a different side to...

By Edaein OConnell