The great return: Why a career break is no longer a career full-stop

The Return Hub was recently launched as a dedicated executive search and consultancy firm helping women return to the financial services industry after a career break. It offers advice and support to women, as well as working with financial services firms to develop their returner programmes and source great candidates.

As a specialist in flexible business roles in law, we at Attune applaud this initiative. We know first-hand how many women need more help to get back into work after a break – typically to have children. That is one of the reasons that Attune Jobs is pushing the growth of more flexible opportunities in the legal sector. We know this is a key means to getting more talented women back into successful careers.

It’s also refreshing to see that we are not alone in these important efforts. Earlier in the year, a new scheme was also launched in London called the OnRamp Fellowship, which is similarly designed to help high-performers re-enter the legal industry and professional services sector after a career break – for six or 12-month placements. Many of these are women who have taken time out to have children and find it hard to return to anything like the same level they were at previous to having children.

In fact, a report from the Institute of Directors suggested that 40% of senior women never return after having children. That’s not just a pretty dire statistic for women but for their employers too, who have no doubt invested huge amounts in developing these rising stars, only to lose them before their potential is fulfilled.

In law, in particular, the figures are stark. Despite women comprising more than half the lawyers entering the profession, they represent only 24% of partners across the profession and just 19% in magic circle firms.

With more firms now signed up to the OnRamp Fellowship, and some doing their own ‘Returnship’ programmes (Allen & Overy, for example), we think this may be beginning to change. The more of us that are supporting firms and women to work better together through inevitable life changes, the quicker and more effective this development will be.

We look forward to playing our part in a future in which great talent is the driving force for better business – and where unnecessary obstacles for attracting and retaining the best employees are broken down for good.

 

Agile, Remote working, Time management, Flexible working

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