Employers losing out on returner talent as women swap industry for flexibility

It seems that women returners are prepared to change role and industry to get the flexibility they need to manage work and home responsibilities.  Employers wanting to attract and retain returner talent need to build flexibility into their thinking.

mum flexible working

One in six women return to work in a different function and 38% change industry sector saying their current job offers more flexibility than the one they had prior to taking a break (59%).

These are the findings of new research conducted with women returners, and published today in a new report “Bringing Talent Back to the Workforce: How to make returner programmes work for your organisation” by the Executive Coaching Consultancy.

The research highlights from a returner’s perspective, the personal constraints and professional challenges of returning to work and what an employer can do to ensure their return is a success.

Over half (54%) that have returned rank striking a comfortable balance between home and work responsibilities as the biggest challenge in their professional and work life, and said their biggest personal constraint to returning to work was finding alternative care arrangements for their children (46%).

Networking, which is critical for career advancement for most professional roles was ranked as the second highest professional challenge (51%) by returners as home responsibilities reduce their availability to participate in networking events held outside regular office hours.

Almost one in four returners struggled with self-confidence which suggests even the most confident professional will experience a dip in confidence on their return.

Geraldine Gallacher, Managing Director, ECC and author of the report said:

“This research shows that while offering returner support is a great way to mobilise the returner workforce there are teething problems with the support employers currently offer.  In order for both parties to get the most from a returner employers need to consider the full range of support they might offer in order to identify which will most effectively meet business objectives and the needs of returners.


 Employers that can offer effective support to attract and retain returners will find themselves sitting on a talent goldmine”

Flexible working commentator Adrian Lewis from Activ Absence said he was not surprised by the research.  He said:

“Many employers fear flexibility, but as this survey shows, offering flexible working is a low cost benefit that is hugely appreciated by staff.   Provided employers set clear boundaries, monitor productivity and invest in the technology to know who is working and when, there really is nothing to fear – it’s far more expensive to have to find new people.  Don’t assume either that it’s ‘just for Mums’, Dads often want to share childcare responsibilities these days when their partners return to work.”

The report includes employer case studies from the Bank of America Merill Lynch, Mastercard and UBS.

Copies of the research are available to download at: https://executive-coaching.co.uk 

Author: Editorial Team

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