'Returnships' key to addressing female brain drain

'Returnships' key to addressing female brain drain

Internships aimed at professionals who are re-starting their careers after a long break could be key to re-filling the “leaky talent pipeline” of women.

Julianne Miles, Co-Founder of Women Returners, writes in The Guardian: “Bringing women back to senior-level roles meets the pressing business need to re-fill the leaky talent pipeline, while the fixed-term trial period overcomes the perceived risk of hiring someone with a long CV gap.”

This month Credit Suisse starts their Real Returns programme in London – a paid employment programme that will run for eight to 10 weeks. Those involved will work on an important short-term assignment in one of the company’s business areas, which will be assigned based on expertise, interests and skill set.

Miles says: “There are a few potential downsides. Some smaller US companies have set up returnships with minimal pay, denying equality of access and potentially exploiting the participants. There is no guarantee of a permanent position and participant numbers have sometimes been too large to provide a realistic possibility of longer-term roles.

“Provided organisations address these pitfalls, the evidence to date suggests that returnships can provide a practical and positive way to allow women to return to corporate careers and will help to address the female brain drain. Now we just need more innovative UK companies to pioneer the concept.”

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