There are all sorts of reasons people take a career break, but one of the most common is because their current role no longer works alongside raising children. As a result, September is often a time of reflection for many working parents. So what can you do if you’re seeking a return to work?
Autumn means some parents will be seeing a child off to school for the first time. Others will be waving their offspring off to secondary school as they start their next chapter in their education. Whatever the circumstances, September often gives parents the time and space to consider their own career options. For many, this process has started months before hand. For businesses looking to hire new talent, it can be a time that’s ripe for opportunity.
First stop for returners seeking a new role
Earlier this year, we were lucky to receive – and be mentioned in – a new book designed to help women seeking to get back into the workplace after a spell of absence.
‘She’s Back, Your Guide To Returning to Work’ by Lisa Unwin and Deb Khan is an inspiring read for anyone looking for fresh ways to frame their CV and their overall mindset after a career break.
The book sets out the reasons why women in particular have found it hard to get back into the world of working, breaking down the barriers and ultimately giving the reader solidarity with real-life situations that we can all relate to.
A guide for getting back into the world of work
It’s also packed full of all sorts of helpful tips around why networking is useful and how to get the most from it, interviews and CV writing. For those out of the workplace for a long time, it will provide useful advice around how the job search has changed since they last looked.
LinkedIn is a big player these days – but we’re delighted to say that Ten2Two features in the book as one of the thought leaders in the world of flexible working, as well as being one of the pioneering flexible recruitment agencies.
Social media, interviews and CV gaps are all hot topics for returners and are usually the subject of our FREE events for candidates or Members as we like to call them. These events give us a chance to meet prospective candidates as well as giving back – and they can also act as a good confidence boost for those who feel rusty about getting back into work again.
Ten2Two – a pioneering flexible recruitment agency
Ten2Two launched back in 2008 after realising that the world of work had to change. Well, certainly that the world of playgrounds had to change. So many highly successful women had given up their careers because they couldn’t find flexible working while they raised young children.
For most, being a parent is a challenge and while many working parents want time with their babies or toddlers or to do the school run once in a while, the reality is, they also need time to sort everything else out that this entails.
She’s Back recognises that flexibility is key to unlocking the issue of lack of women in boardrooms, the gender pay gap and general workplace diversity. A whole chapter is given over to the ‘F Word – flexibility’.
“Stop talking about your hours, talk about your ambition”
Employers find it challenging when they’re presented with ‘problems’. The book focuses the career professional to think about presenting solutions and covering off the bases by thinking as an employer would do. It also leads with the rallying cry that women need to focus on the end game and not the cost of childcare.
Short-term pain can lead to long-term gain – this poses questions as to whether we should be having career breaks at all. It’s this fighting spirit and drive that comes through in the chapters – and many of the women we speak to have this tenacity and will do great work – they just haven’t been given the right part-time or flexible opportunities to do so.
Senior part-time jobs are key to helping returners
Above all, the idea that employers just aren’t walking the talk is a resounding one. The book explains that many businesses aren’t making the connection between providing valuable senior part-time jobs for women and the lack of women at boardroom level.
This is one of our favourite quotes about senior part-time jobs from an ex-consultant:
“Where’s the part when consulting firms tell clients ‘We value diversity so much that we want you to know that some of our partners and senior people work part-time. They will let you know their working arrangements and we ask that you respect their non-working days. We know they will deliver for you.”
We couldn’t agree more. It’s why we’re working directly with employers to design returnships for professionals who need flexibility or part-time work in their lives. If you work for a business where this could be a useful option, please contact us to find out more.
For everyone else, we wish you luck in the quest to find senior part-time jobs or flexible working that works around your home life. It’s not just a question of raising children either – many of us are part of the sandwich generation with ageing parents to care for or at least help with endless online administration in this digital era.
Our time is precious and we all have one life to lead. Let’s hope books like She’s Back and online movements towards better understanding of employee needs result in change for the future. Wouldn’t it be great if flexible working was as accessible as an apprenticeship, internship or maternity leave? We believe that one day it will be – but until then, we must keep on keeping on.