In an episode of Workforce Singapore’s Podcast, Shub Faujdar, Global Head for Training and Development at Alcott Global shared her insights and views on the topic of hiring back-to-work women in Singapore and why the biggest companies in finance, law, and engineering want to have them in their workforce.
Taking Career Breaks
There are different reasons for taking a career break, it can be because of familial reasons, personal, or professional development. For women, taking career breaks are often because of familial duties, taking care of their children, elderly family members, or managing the household as a whole. And the decision to do so is never easy. To support that statement, according to an article by The Guardian, a recent survey by the London Business School shows that 70% of women fear or feel anxious about taking a career break because of the effect it might have on their career.
Career breaks are designed to allow employees to take time off to spend with their family or to reinvent themselves but actually doing it can sometimes become a scary thing, especially when looking forward to the future and how you will get back to where you left off. Years and years of building your career will always get you thinking about whether taking a time off is the best idea and it will leave you second-guessing whether you are making the right choice. And the sad reality is when a person takes time off to travel or to study, it is considered enriching and people will congratulate them but when a woman, especially a mother goes back to work, it is viewed as their employer being generous and some are even forced out of the workforce for taking maternity leave. Thus, understanding the anxiousness women feel whenever they take a career break. THAT IS ABOUT TO CHANGE! Or has already started changing.
Big MNCs Catering to Back-To-Work-Women
Shub shared that while talking to the VP of Adidas and asking what they are doing in terms of hiring good talent in a competitive market, he mentioned that they are focused on the pool of women returning back to work and creating a program called “returnships”.
The program is catered to people coming back from career breaks, giving them paid opportunities that could last for 12 weeks and up to a year. This project may come as a surprise to many and a lot for sure are asking why the interest in women? The first thought that might come to mind is diversity and it is true but it is also because of what these women can offer to the workforce.
According to a study by Microsoft, returning women are better at jobs after becoming mothers. They make better team players, have higher engagement levels, and their teamwork and ability to multi-task show great improvement. Something an employer is surely looking for when hiring talents. In addition, they are hungry for a new challenge. And in the world we live in today, there are surely new challenges that are unpredictable, to say the least.
With that, it is no surprise that big companies such as Amazon, Facebook, and Microsoft are building their returnship programs to cater to back-to-work women, which in fact have shown great improvements since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
Career breaks are not a bad thing and should never be considered as such. No matter what the reason is for you taking your time off, whether traveling, getting your doctoral degree, taking care of your family, or supporting a partner in a job, you will surely have something new and great to offer when you return. Learning and gathering new skills are not achieved in one place and no matter where you are and what you do as long as you are willing, you will always learn.
Women are resilient and flexible, and they have so much to offer given the chance. It is great to see how much the world is changing and as a piece of advice from Shub,
“Don’t be worried about your career gap, since we’ve established that companies are ready and willing to hire you, especially if you’re a back-to-work women!”