- New programs are providing support to women professionals who choose to return to the workforce after taking a career break, SHRM reports. The financial and technology sectors are at the forefront of this movement in an effort to increase diversity in hiring.
- Agencies like Après and reacHIRE are helping women get ready to return to work by placing them in rewarding careers with companies that value their specialized skills.
- Last year, SHRM partnered with iRelaunch, a Boston return-to-work services firm, to create internships for women in engineering. More than 90% of the program participants were hired. In 2017, SHRM has announced a partnership with multiple large companies in an effort to repeat this success.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 57% of all adult women are part of the workforce, including 70% of women who have had children under the age of 18. This means, from time to time, women may need to take a break from their careers to focus on their families, which can often include caring for children and being caretakers to a spouse or parents.
The impact is especially pronounced when it comes to promotions. Yale researchers found that globally, managers were 36% more likely to promote a worker who has 24/7 availability. Childcare and family care clearly don't fit such a model very well, which forces back to the workplace before they're mentally and/or physiologically prepared to do so.
While some companies have trended toward offering better work-life balance and generous time off, many industries don't offer this kind of accommodation. Manufacturers and others who rely heavily on part-time work have been particularly slow to adopt paid leave policies, outside of industry standouts like Chobani.
When women are ready to go back to work, they may find their former job has changed and they may not feel qualified to re-apply. Programs like the ones shared by SHRM help women re-enter the workforce and provide important recruitment advantages to the organizations who hire them.